Macedonia to focus on LCCs at Ohrid Airport


The Macedonian government has reiterated its plans to attract a number of low cost airlines (LCCs) to launch operations from Ohrid's St Paul the Apostle Airport. The country's Minister for Transport and Communication, Goran Sugareski, said, "We as a government are committed to advancing air traffic throughout the country and the region. In the near future, we will announce a public call to offer financial support to low cost airlines that will result in new flights, which we expect to additionally enable Macedonian citizens to fly at low prices to numerous cities". He added, "What is important is that we will promote Ohrid Airport for low cost airlines. We want to make Ohrid and its airport operational, as well as use its facilities to enable more tourists to visit Macedonia".

The Macedonian government has announced it will offer 1.7 million euros to stimulate budget airlines to introduce new routes to the country over a three-year period. Initially, the tender call was to be made in April, however, it is yet to materialise. "Ohrid has untapped potential and we are focusing on shifting traffic to that airport and providing the public with many destinations operated by low cost airlines", Mr Sugareski noted. A number of airlines have commenced or announced new flights to the lake-side city this year. They include Brussels Airlines (Brussels), Onur Air (Istnabul), TUIfly (Eindhoven), Corendon Dutch Airlines (Maastricht), Nordica (Tallinn), Enter Air (Warsaw) and Wizz Air (Vienna).

Macedonia's second international airport has seen strong growth during the first quarter of the year by handling 16.109 travellers. "The number of passengers at Ohrid is growing each month, so we expect for the figures to continue increasing with the measures we will be taking", the Transport Minister said. Ohrid Airport holds potential for attracting not only tourists visiting its picturesque surroundings but also a significant number of Albanian passengers due to its close proximity to the boarder. Apart from the new routes being launched to the city this year, Ohrid is also served by Arkia Israeli Airlines from Tel Aviv, Germania Flug and Helvetic Airways from Zurich, Small Planet Airlines from Katowice, TUIfly from Amsterdam, as well as Wizz Air from Basel and London Luton.

Comments

  1. I really hope Ryanair comes!

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    1. Unlikely with Wizz Air's monopolist behavior in Macedonia.

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    2. its a dual monopoly Wizz+TAV

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    3. nothing to do with TAV

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    4. TAV is just reaping the benefits :) on paper they have done a very good job. Built new terminal in Skopje, managed to boost traffic significantly in SKP and OHD, and probably earn a lot of money for TAV in Turkey.

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    5. Anon 12:02: I don't think so. One can barely make money from LCC ops especially at this size of an airport.

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  2. There is still a lot of untapped potential in Ohrid. It is still not very discovered by tourists and it is in a good location to serve Albania too.

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    1. I hope it doesn't get too discovered by tourists and ruined by them.

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    2. its inevitable

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  3. Hope to see other flights like Moscow - Ohrid

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    1. +1000

      We all hear how "bad" Russia is on the news everyday, but underestimate the number of people with money living in the country. Russian tourists are very important indeed. Take countries like Czechia and Bulgaria and see the impact of Russian tourism. It's sad that only Serbia and Montenegro maintaining Russian tourists.
      For the Russians, OHD will be a true gem. This is exactly the type of destination they like. Nice lake, cobbled streets, cheap and the language quite understandable, because of the Cyrillic.

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    2. I'm surprised that OHD is still 'undiscovered' by the Russians

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    3. Pobeda would be perfect for OHD.

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    4. I agree it is odd that Russians have still not discovered Ohrid in big numbers. Especially since they don't need a visa for Macedonia.

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    5. Maybe a bilateral air agreement needs to be signed between Russia and Macedonia beforehand?

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    6. Why is OHD not promoted in Russia???

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    7. we are asking ourselves that too all the time ...

      or Belarus, Ukraine

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    8. You need money to promote yourself. Although I remember Macedonia being in ads on all major cable channels for years.

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    9. I dont think that your average Mediterranean tourist is watching CNN.

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    10. Rusite ne pokazuvaat interes za MKD turizam ....

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    11. И ова мора да се случи. Русија е одлична нација со одлични луѓе и секогаш се добредојдени...

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  4. How many pax are expected in OHD in 2018?

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    1. In 2017 they had 159,072. This year it will be over 200,000

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    2. Not bad but like someone said it can handle a lot more. Ohrid has so much to offer.

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  5. I hope this does not mean that they won't allow more LCCs in Skopje.

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    1. It's already not allowed. Remember what happened when Ryan wanted to start flights to Skopje?

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    2. aha and what happened, Einstein?

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    3. Wizz Air chased them away. Launched the same routes Ryan wanted. They then go and lecture others about monopolies while they have 60% share in Macedonia.

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    4. it was a clever Schachzug my dear Einstein. clever and cheeky!

      They are defending their position in SKP. Ryanair can start as many routes from SKP as they want if they really wanted

      and im not even a fan of Wizz

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    5. We don't know if they were just smart to launch the same routes or they lobbied with the same government that was talking with Ryanair to drop it.

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    6. never forgotten will be the moment when Grujo announced that they are close to signing a deal with Ryanair while opening a new selska cesma. Epic! prc!

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  6. They are clearly inspired by the success of INI.

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    1. LOL. Maybe they are inspired by the succssess of SKP.

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    2. SKP is all about giving out money for airlines to fly there.

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    3. Well it's obviously the same model they plan for Ohrid.

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    4. aha and the rest of Ex-Yu is not paying money for their ah-so successful airlines. Ma hajde bre

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    5. Agree with anon 9:14am. I think the INI model can be applied by the rest of smaller airports and enjoy the huge success INI had. It should remain in the history books.

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    6. i sincerely hope INIs model does not get applied anywhere else.
      This airport is not profitable- it is losing money left and right.

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    7. No, it is profitable

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    8. I don't get this obsession by some with Nis Airport. Yes it managed to grow nicely but so did many other airports in the region. Tuzla being one of them.

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    9. 3€ are never profitable

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  7. Hoping for easyjet to start flights from Switzerland to OHD.

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    1. There is already Basel by Swiss, and Zurich by Helvetic and Germania.

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    2. Geneva-OHD?

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  8. We already know that Wizz Air will win the tender for subsidies and they will maybe open 2 or 3 new routes to Ohrid.

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  9. Finally the focus is shifting to OHD. Hopefully we get to see more year-round routes

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    1. It looks like it's working because Luton by Wizz is becoming year round again.

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  10. Don't be funny I don't think that OHD can sustain year round flight to many cities. more focus for year round service should be put on SKP and seasonal service for OHD.

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  11. Skopje should get more year round service and Ohrid more seasonal routes

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    1. I think almost all flights operating to Skopje are year round.

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    2. Anonymous - 9:29 AM +1

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  12. I actually thought Ohrid had much more passengers on an annual basis. It has the potential to do a lot more so I like that they will focus on it.

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  13. Any plans to expand OHD terminal? TAV hasn't done too many upgrades on it.

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    1. It is still sufficient for the volume of traffic it has. But with Stip project cancelled maybe they will direct some money to Ohrid.

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    2. Stip Airport money is going to local sewerage project.

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    3. Pity. I hoped they would invest in expanding SKP and OHD.

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  14. When you see the amounts of Albanian passports on SKP-Bergamo flights (the italian police even makes special announcements for albanian passport holders to prepare their documents) you can only imagine how popular such flights would be from OHD. Ciao Ryanair choose one or two from: OHD-VRN, OHD-BGY, OHD-BLQ and OHD-CIA no great risk there....

    Ohrid-Malmö is a given and Wizz is only waiting for the tender to start this flight. I know that Memmingen wants OHD flights too so here you have another one.

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    1. Those routes would be great from OHD.

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  15. But won't expanding OHD ops have an impact on Skopje?

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    1. My thoughts too. It could effect routes with high number of Albanian passengers.

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    2. Skopje attracts passengers from Kosovo. Ohrid attracts passengers from Albania.

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  16. All that country has is lccs. Day and night with Zagreb.

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    1. Skopje Airport has been one of the fastest growing airports in ex-Yu for years, so it's working for them. Also Skopje/Ohrid have legacy airlines as well, quite a few actually - LOT, Austrian, CSA, Adria, Air Serbia, Croatia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Nordica

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    2. lol. docekacas i ti

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    3. get off your high horses, tired of your bullcrap

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    4. he will be the first one to book a cheap flight once they are available. videces!

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    5. Kad bi bar mi u Zagrebu bili toliko sretni da imamo kojeg LCC-a

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    6. Germanwings, Eurowings, Norwegian, Vueling, Easyjet few years ago and coming again, Wizzair some time ago... so I really couldn 't agree that there were no LCC' s in ZAG. There should be more of course, but sorry, you cannot say "kad bi bar ZAG imao kojega"

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    7. Ovo je potpuno isti argument koji je na drugom forumu iznosio neko ko se potpisuje kao Purger. Zna on odlicno da nema opasnosti za OU od LCC Vuelinga, Norwegiana, Eurowingsa i slicnih u ZAG, ali se bori da tamo ne dodju ULCC FR i W6 vec da idu na druge aerodrome, INI, TZL, SKP, BEG... samo ne ZAG.

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  17. What is the point of your comment, anon 9:47AM?

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    1. snobizam.

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    2. its a continous thread, from I suppose this one person who arguments that only legacy carriers are suited to this elite airport, namely ZAG.
      On a serious note, I do wish LCCs get a serious shot at ZAG- the numbers would skyrocket.

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  18. Great news for Ohrid. I hope it's the next success story

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  19. Bravo Macedonia!

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  20. OHD should try to attract more flights from Scandinavia for tourists.

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    Replies
    1. Scandinavian and Eastern European markets too. These is an ideal destination for CIS countries.

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  21. I think we might see a few new routes to Ohird by Wizz next summer.

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  22. OHD is booming and well deserved.

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    1. Yes. 6 new routes in one year is amazing!

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  23. some fresh numbers from today:

    Tourist in Macedonia in March 18 +25% compared to March last year (foreign tourists grew 28.4%)

    some ex-yu indicators:
    BIH(+38%), KS(+82%), SLO(-3%), SRB(+20%), CRO (+36%), MNE(-8%)

    Top 10 in March: 1.BUL 2.SRB 3.GRE 4.TUR 5.KS 6.ALB 7.GER 8.CRO 9.USA 10.SWE

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    1. OHD has always been very popular in Bulgaria. Bus packages are very affordable and distance quite close.

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    2. SOF-OHD is a missed opportunity for Wizz or Ryanair. i hope the bit of tender money can stimulate one of them to actually start flying this route

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    3. This comes only to show the boom in tourism that Macedonia will have with direct flights to SOF and VAR

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    4. I also believe that OHD SOF could be sustainable.

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    5. Yes. People here have discussed the OHD-SOF route. There was a rumour that FB was interested in launching the route but they chose Odessa, Ukraine instead.
      Pity, because the Macedonian Riviera has so much to offer!

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  24. I really hope that AirSerbia with the new local management team will return to OHD.

    shifting the focus from serbian tourists to transfer pax landing in OHD at 2am killed this route. Sramota

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  25. If they want to attract Albanian traveler, I think that a route from Rome to OHD will be nice. For the LCC airline it can be Wizz, Ryanair, easyjet or Vueling as well.

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  26. No more Albanian traveller with new low-cost Kukës Airport which will be opened by the end of this year.

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    1. AirSerbia is cutting and cutting. They became very unreal with price tickets and their strategy currently is not optimistic.
      I hope they change their policy, but with the price tickets offered on some routes they are grabbing the "straw" in drowning. I am just waiting for the competition to arise, then they are gone.

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    2. What has Air Serbia got to do with anything?

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    3. I think he misplaced his response and that he wanted to reply to anon 1.25pm.

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  27. if this airport opens at all (a story very similar to airports like MBX or Morava Airport)
    then it would attract pax from Kosovo - as Kukes is in the northernmost part of Albania.

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  28. Ohrid is a beautiful destination, this is very nice.

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  29. Speaking of subsidies for Wizz in SKP and OHD, interesting quote from agreement made between US and UAE delegations today (from usatoday.com):

    "The delegations stated that government support in whatever form — including policies, practices, and rules — is neither uncommon nor necessarily problematic in the global aviation sector," the agreement says

    WOW! This could mean Macedonian government has been vindicated. And Air Serbia now seems to be in the clear, someone please call Insajder!

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  30. I still do not know why they don’t offer connecting flights to Ohrid for passengers coming from New York. There are many passengers that are from Ohrid or the area surrounding Ohrid.

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