Skopje Airport eyes new markets

Skopje Airport puts focus on western European markets as numbers grow

Skopje Alexander the Great Airport says it is “highly interested” in new market opportunities and has identified several unserved or underserved European countries as its focus point. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, the airport says, “In addition to the markets Skopje Airport is serving, we, of course, are highly interested in every single new market opportunity. In order to identify the route opportunities, we closely monitor the air traffic flow from/to Skopje on a regular basis. Following these analytical studies, we are then able to define the route potentials and approach airlines across Europe”. The airport has identified western European destinations as most appealing to potential passengers. “The latest studies show us that there are still many opportunities in the unserved or underserved markets of Germany, Denmark, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in Europe. Hence, we can say that all markets are important for operator TAV Macedonia, however we are focusing now on those listed here the most”, the airport says.

Skopje Airport currently offers nonstop flights to 31 destinations, up from 26 last year. The arrival of new airlines and the addition of new routes have given Macedonian consumers a greater choice and have in turn boosted passenger numbers at the country’s two international airports - Skopje and Ohrid. “We at Skopje Airport have a healthy mix of airlines including budget carriers (such as Wizz Air, Pegasus and Flydubai) and legacy carriers (such as Turkish Airlines, Alitalia, Austrian, Croatia Airlines, Air Serbia and Adria Airways). We also have leisure airlines such as Germania, Jetairfly, Sunexpress and Edelweiss”, the airport says. Recently, Ryanair said it was in talks with the Macedonian government over the potential launch of flights to Skopje. In an update, Robin Kiely, Ryanair’s Head of Communications, told EX-YU Aviation News that talks with the government are still ongoing at this point.

During July, Macedonia’s two international airports saw impressive double digit growth, as Wizz Air launched five new routes from Skopje and its second route to Ohrid. During the month, the two airports handled 185.811 passengers, up 28% compared to the same month last year. Overall, the two welcomed 823.492 travellers during the first seven months of the year, an increase of 17% on 2014. “We expect the growth to continue”, operator TAV Macedonia says. Istanbul (both Ataturk Airport and Sabiha Gokcen Airport) was the busiest destinations during the January to July period, with a 14.9% market share, followed by Zurich at 9.1%, Vienna 7.1%, Malmo 6%, Basel 5.7% and London Luton at 5.4%. Zurich, Malmo and Memimingen reported the largest increase in passenger numbers compared to last year, while Rome continues to see significant improvement since Alitalia launched the route last year, with figures strengthening from month to month. Wizz Air carried the largest number of passengers so far this year (with a 50% market share), followed by Turkish Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, Air Serbia, Croatia Airlines, Adria Airways and Alitalia.


  1. Anonymous09:04

    Well done Skopje. Excellent work and great numbers.

  2. Anonymous09:07

    I'm a bit disappointed they are not interested in being linked with Moscow.

    1. Anonymous09:25

      There is probably no market for those flights. I don't remember there ever being flights between Skopje and Moscow. Since this summer Aeroflot has a codeshare on Air Serbia's flights from Belgrade.

    2. Not to mention that there are so many connections offered via Istanbul and even Budapest (for those who don't mind that kind of travelling).

      Maybe once the crisis passes SU could consider two weekly flights with the SSJ, though I doubt it.

    3. Nemjee09:43

      Sorry, I forgot that W6 doesn't fly between BUD and SKP, i twas only mentioned as a possibility.

    4. Anonymous10:05

      In June, Aeroflot (SU, Moscow Sheremetyevo) management reportedly asked the Russian Ministry of Transport to exempt Pobeda from local regulations which require a carrier to operate domestically for two years before venturing abroad. They argue that as the airline is a subsidiary of the Russian national carrier, it already satisfies the requirement. Pobeda was founded in December last year following the still-birth of predecessor Dobrolet (QD, Moscow Sheremetyevo).

      Other destinations Pobeda is reportedly looking at include cities in neighbouring CIS states such as Tbilisi, Baku and Minsk Int'l 2, as well as Skopje, Sofia, Cyprus, Germany, Italy and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

    5. Anonymous10:06

      If the prices are relatively low i think there is a market for one or two weekly flights from moscow. Russian tour operators said that russians dont travel to macedonia because there isnt direct line.

    6. Anonymous10:08

      Well it is one of the few countries in Europe where Russians don't need visas. But Russia doesn't seem to be on the radar for SKP airport's management.

  3. OT

    This morning BEG-LCA on W6 180/180!

    1. Anonymous10:59

      Steta sto im je zimski red letenja only 1 weekly. On sundays..

    2. Anonymous11:05

      Posto sam primetio da cesto imas dobre informacije o BEG-LCA ruti, da li znas kako asl posluje trenutno na istoj i da li mislis da je odluka asl-a da je sezonise dobra? Znam da je ponekad jat leteo pun za LCA ali cesto i sa 50% u toku zime. Hvala

    3. Yeah, I am still hoping they might keep it two times per week in winter.
      A few days ago LCA-BEG had only 9 empty seats! I am sure that during the three summer months they could run an extra weekly flight!

    4. Anonymous11:16

      Ah, Nemjee, you should know it's not all in the LF ;-)


    5. AnonymousAugust 12, 2015 at 11:05 AM

      Пре неки дан сам причао са познаником који ради за Хермес и рекао ми је да већ неколико недеља АСЛ има одличну попуњеност. Нажалост то није случај ван три летња месеца где је било случајева када је ЈУ стизао на Кипар са 20 путника. Колико се сећам, просечна попуњеност је била око 45% ове зиме.

      Мислим да је политика Ер Србије на Кипру била катастрофална од самог почетка и да заслужују што се повлаче. Не само што су успоставили тотално сулуди ред летења (и тако су учинили Визу услугу) већ су били бахати са ценама карата пре него што је Визер почео да лети (€300-€350 у просеку).

      Мислим да ће се тешко вратити на Кипар и да ће их скупо коштати то што се повлаче ове зиме. На крају крајева, огромна је грешка што ЈУ не нуди преседања за Енглеску а да не спомињем то што због сплита нису били у могућнсти да нуде свакодневне летове ка већини европских градова.
      Примера ради, Изиџет превезе око 80,000 путника месечно на линијама за Енглеску као и за Берлин, Милано и Базел. Изиџет је, колико се сећам, 6. најпрометнија авио-компанија на острву.

      Ларнака је јако лукративна, само погледајте листу авио-компанија које лете тамо. Но добро, шта да се ради.

    6. Hi D,

      The matter of fact is that there is potential and it's nice to see that someone is making the best of it.
      Furthermore, well all know that the passengers on this route can afford to pay a bit more for their ticket. Plus, I am sure W6 is not bleeding on this route especially since the fares are no longer dirt cheap.

      JU's failure in Larnaca should not attributed to its crazy fares but rather to the horrible schedule which caused them the loss of the O&D market.

    7. One weekly flight at a normal time and 60% of those who fly on W6 would stay loyal to JU. Same schedule as your summer seasonal flight to Malta.

    8. Anonymous11:30

      Let's see. I'm sure W6 will up the freqs once it's in the proper green. In any case, there's no space for additional ones during the summer if the aircraft is already on full rotation unless you redistribute freqs from other BEG destinations.

      As for the potential, we both agree it's there. Every business model and company culture have their own pitfalls which we have to account for though. The choice is extremely limited, so we'll have to bear with what we have for now.


    9. Anonymous12:40

      Pa na tom splitu su i zaradili. Let od 40min sa prosecnom cenom od nekih 20ak hiljada din. Malo li je? A pun krcat. Ali je steta da sezonski ne lete za grcka ostrva. Kad pogledam, sezonski letovi za krf, rodos i krit bi isto tako bili puni krcati. Ovako se ljudi vezuju za agencije i placaju mnogo vise. A asl na carteru i ne zaradi neku lovu. Sica da se prezivi. Jos im cartere za gr ostrva obavljaju matori boinzi. Znaci velika potrosnja. Pa onda kabinsko osoblje koje na svaka 3 meseca bezi iz nac.kompanije zbog cega se svako malo organizuju novi konkursi. Ali evo pridruzujem se cestitkama za online cekin na koji smo cekali 2 god. Nadam se da necemo i na wifi cekati isto toliko. Kazu ugradjen zimus ali jos uvek ne funkcionise. Ali dobro. Nema mesta za kritiku. Samo da nam sledece god ne ukinu jos dve linije, kao ove. Steta sto milionski iznos reklame nije pomogao da se lca i bud odrze i tokom ove zime. Mozda je vreme da se opet izdvoje milioni od happy fridaya za novu reklamu. Ovog puta konkretniju.

    10. Anonymous13:26

      Crucial fact is that Air Serbia on Larnaca route has 85% of all passengers who transfer via Belgrade. Moreover, Wizz Air's route to Larnaca is their worst performing route from Belgrade by far.

    11. Anonymous13:33

      Are you saying that ~850 thousand passengers from Larnaca transfer via BEG in one year?

    12. Хахахах wouldn't that be just wonderful. <3

    13. Anonymous13:53

      I understand that the guy quoted that among passengers who fly ASL on BEG-LCA vv 85% of them transfer via Belgrade. So only 15% of ASL passengers transported to and from LCA are O&D. In other words, Serbian people rarely use ASL when flying to LCA. That means that yield on that route must be terrible.

    14. Anonymous18:26

      There was "only" 166 pax+ 1 infant on board the flight.

    15. Thank you, I guess the woman at the gate was too lazy to give the exact number.

    16. Anonymous20:56

      "you should know it's not all in the LF ;-)"

      Agreed. It makes following statement more puzzling: "ASL will expand once LF hits 80%".

      With about 10% in winter reductions, capacity will go down, costs will go down, LF will go up, profit will go way up, but revenue and market share will probably stay flat or be on a small uptick.

    17. Anonymous22:12

      @Anon 12:40pm Ako mladji odlaze, znaci da ne cene jedinstven i atraktivan posao u Srbiji. Medjutim, neretko su na ulazu u avion iskusni Jatovi "predatori", "legende sa desetke". Iako u svojim kasnim 50-tim godinama, ex-Jat seniori su gostima svojevrsno podsecanje na slavni Jat (airways).

    18. Anonymous06:31

      Неретко? Да ли схваташ да је свега 25 кабинског особља прешло из Јата у Ер Србију?

  4. Anonymous09:25

    Does Wizz Air use air bridges at Skopje?

    1. Anonymous09:28

      Yes all the time

    2. Anonymous09:50

      And I'm guessing they pay nothing for it....

  5. Anonymous09:29

    Have a good look at those countries they will all probably become future Ryanair routes from SKP.

  6. Anonymous09:59

    best looking airport in ex YU....

  7. Anonymous10:02

    I dont think that more connections to the west should be a top priority. SKP has almost zero connections to eastern europe. We need at least prague and moscow.. Maybe pobeda will start flights from moscow, but i highly doubt it..

    1. Anonymous10:04

      +1 completely agree. That's why I'm surprised by their statement. I think they are really well connected to the west, much better then some other ex-yu airports. They even have flights to Spain.

    2. Anonymous10:08

      What would the basis of connecting ANY Eastern European destination besides Prague, Bratislava and Moscow?

      I see this question pop up all the time and I'm wondering if anyone can show any data behind it.

      If you can't convince me you sure won't fare any better with a carrier that has to dump 15-20k EUR on any return flight.

    3. Anonymous10:35

      i also dont understand the fuzz about BUD (this question pops up as well all the time) .

      with the open borders to the West now who is travelling to BUD ??

    4. Anonymous10:36

      Prague is the west of Wien anyway.

    5. OT:
      PRN pax figures for Jul 2015 are in.
      19% growth vs Jul 2014
      12% growth vs Jan-Jul 2014

    6. Anonymous11:23

      @anon 10:08
      Those are exactly the lines that mkd citizens want from eastern europe. Thats y we r surprised that those routes arent a priority for TAV since we need only 3-4 lines. Also during an interview last december, the general manager of tav macedonia mentioned that they r working on making moscow possible and that is important line. Thats way this report comes as a bit of shock to me.
      @anon 10:35
      The fuzz about bud is about the wizz air network from there. Also the business demand does exist (although that line is not sustainable from bussines demand alone), so i think it will be a profitable route.

    7. Anonymous11:33

      "Those are exactly the lines that mkd citizens want from eastern europe."

      I appreciate your enthusiasm. The above could really mean something if it were accompanied by backup hard data.

    8. Anonymous11:35


      19% seems a bit off if growth is 20k year over year, as stated on caa-ks. 20k is more like 12%. Or does 19% refer to movements? Something doesn't add up.

    9. Anonymous13:15

      @anon 11:33
      I can not give you any data since there hasnt been any official poll by the government and the caa. But, from discussing this topic on several mkd forums, i can tell you that there are lots of people who share my opinion. Prague and Bratislava are important because in the ex Czezchoslovakia there are lots of macedonians (+ bratislava is close to austria, another country where the diaspora is big). In moscow there isnt diaspora but it can be used for transit, plus it is important from political stand point that two orthodox country have a direct connection (+ mkd and srb are the only countries in europe that did not join the sanctions. Also russians do not need visa for mkd)

    10. Anonymous13:29

      Thanks. My remark referred to any destinations besides these three.

      In addition, polls don't mean much.

  8. Anonymous13:31

    Good news from Nis, the next two flights to MMX are sold out!

    1. Anonymous14:08

      Good to hear, but realistically, it would be a disaster if LCC carrier didn't have 100% (or very near to it) loads during AUG. They need to have high to begin with, and summer season is a no brainer. So, nice to hear, but not really a surprise. Hopefully they will post high loads (probably also decent revenue) also in off peak periods where real challenges are.

    2. Anonymous14:25

      It's quite normal to have many flights sold out in mid August. Montenegro Airlines has sold all seats from Tivat to Belgrade until Tuesday,18thAugust, there are 21 consecutive flights completely full. Wizz Air sold out all seats on flights from Belgrade to Eindhoven, Gothenburg, Luton, Malmo, Dortmund and Skavsta until the end of the week. Let's see what will be happening during slow winter months.

    3. Anonymous15:09

      I think people are happy about Nis because airlines used to go there to die, it's nice to see someone do well for a change.

    4. Anonymous00:26

      Oh so now we know why Ansett Australia went under - they flew to Niš!

  9. @Anonymous 11:35 AM

    No, the Civil Aviation Authority of Kosovo is reporting that pax numbers are 19% up in July 2015 compared to July 2014. If this figure is correct, which I believe it is, then PRN served approx 30k pax more in July 2015 than in July 2014.

    20k pax figure does not add up and most certainly does not present the growth figure for the first 7 months of 2015, which should be approx 80k.

    1. Anonymous14:36

      Thanks. I was looking at this:

      .. and something just doesn't add up.

    2. Anonymous15:22

      Does anyone have the figures for PRN 2015. so far?

    3. Anonymous15:27

      You have an entire news item dedicated to PRN on the left side. It even has your answer in it. If people would just bother to look.

    4. @Anonymous 2:36 PM
      Kosovar CAA has now updated their figures and confirm that 30k more pax were served by PRN in July 2015 vs July 2014.

      @Anonymous 3:22 PM
      If the growth in pax numbers is 12%, as stated by CAA, then Jan-Jul 2015 figures for PRN should be approx 870k. Note that this is a personal calculation and not an official figure.

    5. Anonymous16:28

      Makes sense now. Thank you. An excellent result.

      It seems a large proportion of the traffic is charters. I hope it translates to more scheduled traffic year round going forward. Industry reporting services like OAG currently show the airport with much less capacity than the other regional airports.

  10. Anonymous14:44

    In the worst case scenario Skopje will end up with about 1.4 mil. passengers for 2015. And probably it will hit 1 mil. in the first days of September.

    1. Anonymous16:05

      Yep, the 1.5mil seems a little far away, unless another route/airline comes in really soon (which is not realistic). Next year 1.6mil should be guarenteed although TAV said that for 2016 they projected 2mil, but I dont see how that can happen.

  11. Anonymous15:46

    SKP July 2015 - 164.431 (+24.4%)
    OHD July 2015 - 21.380 (+70.3%)

  12. DTWSKP17:14

    If we are talking Western Europe. Summer seasonal to AMS, CDG, FRA would pick up a large diaspora in North America. FCO was a good start with AZ, but a better Skyteam presence could keep a healthy competitive price structure with the Star Alliance. SKP cannot go year round to W.Europe with a lack of cargo to compliment year round pax demand. However seasonal on an E190 up to an A319 would be sufficient.


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