Pristina demand for US flights grows


New York was the busiest unserved route from Pristina in 2017 for a third year in a row, with passenger numbers from Kosovo to the United States continuing to grow. A total of 14.577 travellers flew directly from Pristina to New York (JFK and Newark Liberty) last year. Of those, 11.413 were bound for JFK Airport and 3.164 to Newark Liberty Airport. Other points in North America which saw a notable number of passengers departing Pristina included Chicago (4.409), Toronto (3.405) and Washington (3.164). In 2009, Scanderbeg Air, a short-lived tour operator that contracted with Sky King Airlines, maintained two weekly flights between Pristina and New York with a Boeing 767-200ER aircraft from June to September. Ever since, there have been no flights between the two cities.

Pristina Airport's near-by competitor, Skopje, has also registered notable demand to the United States and has attempted to secure transatlantic operations. The Macedonian government and the Turkish-run Skopje Airport submitted a proposal last year for Turkish Airlines to launch flights from the Macedonian capital to North America. "The Balkan region is still immature in terms of connectivity to US and Canadian destinations. Therefore, most passengers originating from the Balkan region must make at least one connection to fly transatlantic, which is a hassle. In this regard, if Skopje manages to serve a transatlantic flight in the future, this will be beneficial for the entire Balkan area. A nonstop flight to North America would lead to additional feeder flights from the Balkan region to Skopje. The airport would attract many passengers from surrounding countries", TAV Macedonia General Manager, Alper Ersoy, told EX-YU Aviation News last year. Over 40.000 passengers originating from Skopje travel to North American destinations each year by making at least one connection elsewhere. "Adding a non-stop transatlantic flight would increase the overall travelling comfort of these passengers originating from Skopje", Mr Ersoy added.

Air Serbia has also recognised the significant feed it could see from Pristina on its Belgrade - New York service. The Serbian President has spoken of the importance of resuming service between Pristina and Belgrade in order for travellers to transfer onto Air Serbia's New York flights. He added that the airline hopes to tap into the large "diaspora of Albanians in New York". On the other hand, Pristina Airport's General Manager, Haldun Firat Kokturk, noted that New York continues to be a target destination. "The airport is focusing on opening new services to destinations not directly served from Pristina. This should have a positive impact in covering more of the countries and catchment areas where our diaspora is located, and will generate additional passengers visiting Kosovo either for leisure or business", he said. "We are willing to increase flight numbers and extend our network with additional routes, and we are using our incentive plan to attract airlines in order to catch this growth at a sustainable level", Mr Kokturk added. Other unserved destinations from Pristina in 2017 with solid passenger numbers include London Heathrow, Copenhagen (to be launched this year), Ankara, Antalya, Izmir, Amsterdam and Dubai.

Comments

  1. Seasonal flights from PRN to NYC could work, especially because they would be able attract passengers from Albania and Macedonia too. That said I doubt anything more than seasonal traffic on this route would be possible at this point.

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    1. Important to note that this flight continued to Tirana.

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    2. So albania in 2018 with new airlines air albania will launch flight to.skopje prishtina beograd sarajevo
      So this will be super good if turkish airlines start 2 flight a week from may to october 15 from skopje to jfk direct flight
      Soon in less than two years the new highway from prishtina to skopje will be finished and will take 1 hour and half to be on skopje airport
      I think if numbers increase by 20 percent by 2020 this flight will get on route to jfk or newark newyersey airport

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  2. ATA also used to 2 weekly JFK-PRN.

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    1. Same with above, this flight used to continue to Tirana.

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  3. Dali neko moze tacno da mi objasni zasto er srbija ne moze da uvede let beg-pristina i zasto asl avioni i dalje ne lete preko kosova?

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    1. 1. because of the name of the airport.

      2. because the documents would have to state that they are flying to the Republic of Kosovo.

      3. because insurance costs would be through the roof for a Serbian plane down there.

      4. because JU doesn't have enough aircraft.

      5. because there is a greater priority to fly elsewhere like SKP, OTP or SOF in the region.

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    2. Actually you are completely wrong on all 5 points.
      1. JU made a timetable when it looked as if flights could begin back in 2016, they couldn't care less about the name.
      2. BEG Airport and several other points in Serbia accept documents issued by Kosovo authorities. It is part of the Brussels agreement.
      3. Not an issue.
      4. JU planned to put an Aviolet 737 on this route
      5. Not true

      The reason there are no flights is because issues such as air traffic regulation have to be sorted out. Task group to resolve this has been made and some results may occur this year. Serbia wanted flights to begin even without this being resolved but the other side didn't want to.

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    3. The Brussels agreement is a highly unpopular measure and it was only accepted because Pristina blackmailed the Serbian community in Kosovo.

      The reality is that if demand was that great then there would be flights today. The reality is that the market is best served through scheduled charters where seats are sold through agencies.

      That's why 5 is absolute truth. There is a reason why SKP and TIA keep on getting more and more seats while PRN gets neglected.
      Look at easyJet's failure down there. There is simply not enough passengers for most airlines.

      As for insurance, that's why Aviolet was scheduled to fly there. It's an old aircraft and it's paid for. The same reason why EK sent A340 to Kabul until recently.

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    4. Whether an agreement is popular or not has nothing to do with the fact that documents from Kosovo are normally accepted at BEG. The reality is that JU can't fly to PRN at the moment otherwise the plane would be turned back to BEG. The demand is huge especially because they would be able to transfer passengers to all points not just US. As far as I can see Skopje is loosing flights from JU not getting it.

      Easy jet had 255,940 passenger to/from PRN last year - second busiest airline at PRN. Don't know what "failure" you are talking about.

      Aviolet was scheduled because Air Serbia believed it was best to send a plane without national symbols at the beginning and had them available.

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    5. They are doing so well in PRN that they are cancelling Paris flights.

      As for Aviolet, it was because of insurance cost, it had nothing to do with symbols. If you were right then Aviolet would be flying to TIA which is not the case.

      If the market was that large then JU would find a way to fly there like it found a way to move from SAW to IST.

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    6. You really have no clue what you are talking about and as each one of your posts goes you have less and less arguments. READ: Easy jet handled 255,940 passengers from and to Pristina. They cancelled one flight but launched another. How many flights has easy jet cancelled from Belgrade? I can remember several.

      The Serbian government itself said that they plan to fly the B737 because of national symbols and because it was the only aircraft available at the time. Further proof that you have little knowledge of relations inside the Balkans is your claim that they should fly white planes to Tirana. Completely different set of relations and history. Jeez.

      And no changing airports in the same city in Turkey is not the same as flying to PRN. They simply can't. No one will let them into the airspace.

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    7. Are you seriously comparing BEG and PRN in terms of market potential? That goes to show how clueless you are.

      The government said many things about aviation it doesn't mean they were all true. Insurance was roughly 1.7 times more than for other destinations. Aviolet was simply the cheaper option out there.


      You are right it's not the same as switching airports. the fact that Davutoglu had to get involved shows how difficult and controversial it was. Maybe you should keep up, be informed man.

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    8. Sure. Pretty much everything you wrote in your original post turned out to be false. Since you are out of arguments there is no point continuing. BTW concerning the resumption of flights between Serbia and PRN the entire EU is involved.

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    9. Yes the entire EU is involved and we are nowhere close to linking Adem Jashari with Belgrade. I guess you are right, that's why nothing happened until now.

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    10. I don't think you no longer know what you are arguing. Your original post was that Air Serbia could start flights tomorrow if it wanted to when in actual fact it can't even though it would if it could.

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    11. I think you confused several different Anonymous posters on here. Then again you seem to be confused about many things.

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    12. Sure ;) what ever suits you .

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  4. That's roughly 1.100 passengers per month, in both directions. Who are they kidding? There is no market there. If ZAG or SOF are yet to have flights to the US then I don't see how a 'country' with unemployment rate of almost 50% could sustain them.

    Keep flying on Austrian and Turkish for the time being.

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    1. That's the number of passengers who bought a ticket directly from PRN to one of those airports. There are a lot, I assume who didn't fly out directly from Pristina or could have bought two separate tickets.

      Also unlike ZAG or SOF, these flights would attract passengers from another two markets and also PRN used to have flights to the US before ZAG or SOF.

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    2. Yes, shady airlines operated these flights that were probably used for money laundering purposes. As for ZAG, it had flights to the US back in the days of JAT so don't get over yourself. ;)

      There is a reason why no one is flying this route. If there was demand someone would have made the most of the opportunity.

      Anyway, SKP has more chances than PRN.

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    3. Then I guess it's the same reason why there are no flights between ZAG and the US.

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    4. ZAG is in a completely different league with many intercontinental flights. Check your facts before posting.

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    5. As for any of ex-YU cities at the moment, if there was a sufficient demand some of US carriers would probably open it.

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  5. I think any airline that flies this route in June, July and August can be successful. The issue is afterwards.

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    1. Indeed, very seasonal as most of the cities in the region. Very little business travelers, very little tourists from the region going to the US, mostly diaspora passengers which can hardly sustain the flights.

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  6. I assume that the majority of passengers from Pristina transfer through Istanbul with Turkish Airlines to the US?

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    1. No. Austrian Airlines is number one.

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    2. Austrian plus I think there are decent loads on Adria flights to FRA connecting onto LH.

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  7. Adria should start flying Pristina-Ljubljana- New York ;)

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  8. This is good opportunity for Skopje, combining passengers from Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, South Serbia, Northern Greece and even partially Bulgaria, I think there is enough demand from these regions for nonstop flight to New York or Chicago.

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    1. sort of OT, but both QR and FZ will start flights to SKG, this for sure will reduce the no of passengers from Northern Greece from SKP and furthermore will draw some passengers from the southern Macedonia to SKG

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  9. Airserbia doesnt have enough aircraft for this route yet, they cancelled over 30 flights so far this year because of fleet shortage (region flights)

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  10. You would need like all coach RECONFIGURED 400 seats A330 to make them work. You may still end up losing the cash as it very price sensitive market.

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  11. Most people from Kosovo and Albania living in the US fly only once every few years because fares are high. If there was a nonstop flight prices would probably go down and there would be more visits.

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  12. United with its B747 at PRN a couple of years ago. Military charter from the States.

    http://www.imgrum.org/media/1003391644536290492_1586032958

    http://www.imgrum.org/media/1009264362079010095_1586032958

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  13. BEG is the only one that can pull it off besides Istanbul. That is going to be the trend in the next 10-20 years in the Balkans.


    Mark my words with love! The earlier you accept the reality the better!

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    1. Zagreb is also growing fantastically and tourism is booming both in the city and in the coast, so it is quite possible to have the flight opened in near future.

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    2. ATH has multiple flights per day to NYC and the US. What are you talking about?

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    3. ATH got it only now and we don't know how long subsidized Emirates will keep the flights. BEG had year-round JFK flights before ATH.

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    4. Enough with "mark my words" statements. Nor you or anyone else knows what will be next year, let alone in the next two decades.

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  14. I'm surprised that there are quite a few people travelling between Pristina and Washington DC. Is there an Albanian population living there?

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    1. Tiny community. I have family there.

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  15. I dalje nedovoljno za redovnu liniju

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  16. At this point I don't think that Skopje has the potential to sustain flights to the US.

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    1. Wanted to write Skopje and Pristina.

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    2. Perhaps during summer, like Transat to ZAG

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  17. During the first year of BEG-JFK-BEG flights(from 23jun2016-23jun2017), Air Serbia handled more than 80.000 passengers.Plus passengers who traveled via other European hubs to New York. Just compare

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    1. Belgrade-New York is probably well over 130.000 on a yearly basis. It's quite a big market. That's why it was the first to get the flights.

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    2. Yes and if you compare how many passengers travelled directly from BEG to JFK in 2015 you would see the number is much much less. When a nonstop route starts you attract much more passengers.

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    3. Yes but you can't compare BEG and PRN. Simple as that.

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    4. Who said I was comparing the two?

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    5. 'Just compare'

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    6. Mislim da je AnonymousFebruary 4, 2018 at 10:38 AM samo hteo da pokaže koliko je nerealna priča za letove JFK/EWR - PRN.

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    7. And still we are getting words that BEG-JFK route is making losses for the company. It fills only with low priced tickets and already tiny business class (18 seats) is mostly empty. All of that in the biggest city in the region with most connections.

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    8. Where are you 'getting words'? They would not be increasing flights to 6 weekly if they were loosing money.

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    9. Company itself made an estimate that they will be loosing money on this route in the first three years of operation. The route is highly seasonal, and six weekly flights are only operated in a busiest part of the summer. This winter flights are down to just two. Therefore, route not performing the best financially is highly likely.

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    10. In winter it's operated three times per week and it gets increased from March.

      But your argument should have ended with a statement that if BEG isn't doing so well as the biggest single market then no one else should think of these flights.

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  18. Let's be honest, none of the ex-Yu cities has the potential for US flights . Even BEG with all the JU feed can barely make it work and probably it's loss making 10 out of 12 months. Sure, in the summer seasonal charters could work from a few cities in ex-Yu, but in the summer you could fill planes to almost anywhere.

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  19. I recommend Eurowings A330 to open service PRN-JFK-PRN for the summer season 2018, the best option.
    Good luck ;)

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  20. Between SKP and PRN, I think it's likelier that SKP would get TATL flights first.

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    1. Which one have more Airlines / Destinations in service would get flights first.

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  21. No one in the ex-YU will get US flights with the exception of ZAG which might get seasonal ones.

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    1. SPU & DBV are equally good option flf possible carriers

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    2. They might be good in theory but in practice it won't happen.

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  22. Interesting to see Dubai on the list. I assume it's safe to say TK carries most of those. Does Pegasus fly to PRN?

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    1. Yes Pegasus flies to Pristina.

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    2. A few yeara ago Air Arabia flew Sharjah-Pristina but it failed badly. It was cancelled after a month.

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  23. 14500 pax per year? That is nothing for long haul.

    Even the smallest long haul plane for this route, a 767-200 (which you can barely still find today) in a necessary high density seating (very low yielding market, so e.g. 275Y), can only be filled 52x a year. That is 1 weekly. This is extremely hypothetical of course if 100% of all flying pax would book this exact flight.

    I assume it should be at least around 80,000 pax so that a long haul route can be viable.

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