Ryanair and easyJet show Macedonia interest


Ryanair and easyJet have shown interest in the Macedonian market, the head of the country's Civil Aviation Agency, Goran Jandreoski, has said. He added that Wizz Air will not withdraw from Macedonia after the airline announced the suspension of its Skopje - Vaxjo service from next month and the seasonal downgrade of its Skopje - Barcelona and Ohrid - London Luton routes, following years of expansion from the country. "The Ministry for Transport and Communications has adopted a decree that is aimed at attracting low cost airlines. It is not just Wizz Air, there is also interest from Ryanair and easyJet. The Agency is always at hand to provide support so everyone can enjoy the benefits of low cost travel for a long time to come. Wizz Air did not accidently station four aircraft at our airport", Mr Jandreoski said, referring to Skopje.

In 2015 Ryanair confirmed it would introduce flights to the Macedonian capital and noted it was negotiating with the government over a range of routes. Wizz Air quickly followed with the announcement of several new services to Skopje from Ryanair bases. Ultimately, Europe's busiest budget carrier shelved its plans to enter the Macedonian market. Commenting on Ryanair's shift towards the east, the airline's Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs, noted last year, “It’s going to be more Ryanair and Wizz going head to head. It’s going to get harder [for Wizz], given our scale, our cost advantage, and our fare advantage. It’ll be an interesting scrap in the coming years”. On the other hand, easyJet has said it is unfazed by Wizz Air's expansion on the Macedonian market and will only launch flights to the country if there is sufficient demand. “easyJet is focused on its successful strategy to expand across Europe and operates in the best interests of the company and its customers ensuring the attractiveness of its network. This means the airline concentrates its efforts on maintaining and developing routes which prove popular with passengers. We consider competition only in regards of tactic opportunities that can be complementary to our strategy”, the airline said.

The CEO of Turkey's TAV, which runs Macedonia's two airports, Sani Sener, recently said that despite being a Wizz Air stronghold, there is room for more low cost players in the country. "Skopje is already a successful Wizz Air base, but we think there is considerable opportunity for more low cost operators", Mr Sener said. Wizz Air handled over 659.000 passengers on flights to and from Macedonia during the first half of the year, carrying 63.3% of all travellers to the country. It was followed by Turkish Airlines in a distant second place with a 8.1% passenger share, then Austrian Airlines with 5.1% of the market, Germania Flug with 4.6%, Edelweiss Air with a 3.8% share, Croatia Airlines with a 3.1% share, and Pegasus Airlines with a 3% traveller share.

Comments

  1. Now that would be GREAT news.

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  2. Is this the reason the government annulled the tender? Because they want Ryan and easy?

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    1. I don't. If the tender went ahead normally we would already have Wizz Air announce new routes from Skopje and Ohrid. Now we have nothing.

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    2. The tender was set to base ine more aircraft in SKP and one (for the first time) in OHD. Ohrid was the main benificiarry of basing the planes
      Also, having based planes introduces more demand for macedonian workers, while this is halvwd, at best, when starting flights to macedonia, rather than from. The Tender was aimed not only to make new routes, but to xreate more local jobs. This is why anulling it for a dumb reason is inacceptable

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  3. VMRO-DPNE has said that Wizz will withdraw from Macedonia.

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    1. It's just their dreams so they could blame the new government.

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    2. Well why didn't VMRO bring Ryanair. It was during their government that they started talks with them and it was during their government that Ryan gave up on the idea.

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    3. VMRO is dramatizing so they can blame the new pro-european government..who knows if some got money from the whole deal with wizz

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    4. But a cause of concern is W6 expanding to Pristina and on the same routes they fly from Skopje.

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    5. LCCs that would fly to Pristina but don't because of high fees should consider the opportunity for subsidies.

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    6. I would again state the same:
      The tender was set to base ine more aircraft in SKP and one (for the first time) in OHD. Ohrid was the main benificiarry of basing the planes
      Also, having based planes introduces more demand for macedonian workers, while this is halvwd, at best, when starting flights to macedonia, rather than from. The Tender was aimed not only to make new routes, but to xreate more local jobs. This is why anulling it for a dumb reason is inacceptable

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  4. But what could be a new destination Ryanair could introduce. Pretty much everything has been taken by Wizz Air.

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    1. SKOPJE-PRAGUE, SKOPJE-LISBON, SKOPJE-NAPLES

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    2. is there any diaspora there?

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    3. SKOPJE FLIGHTS!!! WE NEED MORE OHRID GLIGHTS AND A BASE OVER HERE. WE NEED MORE BASES SO WE CAN HAVE HIGH PAID JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY GOD DAMN IT!

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  5. I'm a bit worried about Skopje this winter. Generally the number of Wizz flights will be down, Flydubai and Qatar Airways are decreasing flights... it will affect numbers.

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    1. At the same time you forget that Wizz Air will have 2 A321s, that LOT will be flying 3x per week, that Aegean will probably also start flights. Don't you worry about Skopje.

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    2. Can somebody say what is increased by Wizz this winter (Malta is an example, what else). Stop talking only about reductions

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    3. A reason to worry about definitely, if Wizz are unable to continuously fill the their planes, then this means that barely new carriers can appear on the horizon, let alone legacy.

      Interestingly enough, N.Macedonia is one of the very few countries in Europe with a positive or growth in the population even though it is 0,3%, it is still much better compared to the rest in the region.

      Anyway, we will see if Wizz will announce new routes for 2019, they usually do it in September.
      As for easyJet, they will announce theirs by September end too.

      As for Ryan, usually they do it before the rest of the carriers.

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    4. If Wizz would not be filling their planes, then they would not station A321s to Skopje.
      Cancellation of Vaxjo is not a surprise since Scandinavia is densely covered from SKP and Barcelona is a seasonal route by itself.
      So, again, don't you worry about that.
      Second, the figures about population growth you may have are probably extrapolated from the number of births and deaths, but as for the other countries of the region migration is a big issue in Macedonia as well, so until there is a census (last one held in 2002) nobody actually knows whats the population of the country,
      and third:
      will you please stop with this N Macedonia crap

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    5. Уиз Ер stationed 2 A321s on the extremely popular routes, similar to what they did in the rest of their bases. But it's also a super tough job to fill such a huge aircraft.
      Regarding Sweden, I think you are 100% right. It was really oversaturated.
      We might see new SKP route but most likely coming from another Wizz Air base e.g. Warsaw-Skopje or Kutaisi-Skopje, etc.
      Nothing wrong to have Barcelona as seasonal, also it's becoming less popular and not good for business because of the independence movement, there are serious problems in the society and this is affecting tourism somehow.

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  6. Good news. I hope we finally see another airline using these subsidies.

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    1. It will be Wizz Air again.

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    2. Don't think so. Otherwise they would not have made the tender void.

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    3. Wizz chased away Ryan. I don't understand why the government doesn't allow another major LCC, even to compete on the same routes. It would benefit us passengers.

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    4. Anon @ 9:21

      It's not up to the gov to allow or not. It's pretty much out of their hands. As a matter of fact, they're actually doing everything (they're capable of) to pull anyone else than Wizz at the moment. While I hope it makes a difference, I wouldn't hold my breath.

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  7. The best scenario for Skopje would be a battle between Wizz and Ryan like in Sofia.

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    1. Birmingham, Lissabon, Aqaba, Madrid, Athens, Catania, Pisa, Liverpool, Dublin would be great

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    2. But if Skopje - Barcelona is not working for Wizz I doubt Skopje - Lisbon would.

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    3. Yes. Macedonian government should sponsor someone like Ryanair to come to Skopje. That way we might have a fight between two LCCs land passenger numbers would explode while more and more routes would be offered.

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    4. @9.09
      Bulgaria is a much larger market so such scenario is possible there. Not so sure about Macedonia.

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    5. Aren't a lot of routes being suspended in Sofia?

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    6. Similar to SKP, the gasto routes have been covered entirely. The biggest diaspora destinations: MAD and rest of Spain + 5 London airports, Scotland and some biggest cities in England. Bavaria and Berlin and now slowly DUB.
      I don't think there will be more LCC expansions from SOF. What is now trendy are the leisure destinations, charter destinations and the Gulf ones.
      So, maybe SKP can focus on charter or leisure?

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    7. Lisbon is a booming airport and destination. Barcelona is flat. Wizzair has cancelled Barcelona-Gdańsk but they keep flying Lisboa-Gdańsk. So I can't see why LIS-SKP wouldn't work. Same for MAD.

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    8. Lisbon is also quite seasonal. Do you remember what happened to TAP when they used to fly to Belgrade? Wizz Air will also cancel OTP-LIS soon, so doubt if they will consider Skopje.
      Additionally, in summer you have flights from Sofia too.

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    9. I am shocked Wizz will suspend LIS from OTP, but OK they compete against TAP on this route...
      Not quite sure LIS will survive the winter in SOF either, will be interesting to see. In any case, lIsbon is a great place to visit (in the warm months)

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    10. Gdansk, Katowice, Warsaw also suspended to LIS o.O

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    11. Yes and SOF too, but it's now bookable starting March 2019.
      It clearly shows important Vienna is to Wizz Air. They have made so many cuts in their bases this year.
      Belgrade remains one of the most important bases with 1 affected route only.

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  8. Well now that the Greece issue is coming to an end it's time for Easy Jet to let fo of its stubbornness and start flights.

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    1. What does easyJet have to do with the Macedonia-Greece issue??

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    2. Stelios Haji-Ioannou

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    3. It's completely baffling that they have not started Basel - Skopje which is one of Wizz Air's busiest routes in Skopje.

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    4. You think because of Stelios easy is avoiding an entire market?

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    5. So what's Ryanair's excuse then? :D

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    6. lol the Stelios claims above are just funny haha

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    7. What sort of attitude is that from easyJet? I don't understand that they don't see any interest in serving Macedonia. Together with Bosnia it's the only market they don't serve in ex-Yu.

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    8. There was a nice lineup of easyjet planes in Skopje in March when Kavala Airport was closed because of bad weather and they couldn't land in Thessaloniki because of runway reconstruction.

      https://image.ibb.co/cAyexc/28424033_1823406937671426_4660499903203568625_o.jpg

      Hope to see a sight like this at SKP sometime in the future :)

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    9. Nice but they are parked in front of the old terminal?

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    10. Yes. It was an unplanned arrival. There was not enough space at the terminal.

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    11. Easy Jet already flies to Pristina. That's the problem.

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    12. So? Wizz flies to Skopje but they also fly to Pristina too.

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    13. U2 are also expanding in Sofia this winter, so not sure if this will also be a problem.

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

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  9. I'm happy about all these talks for new low cost carriers. But I'm also content with Wizz and what they did for the air traffic in Macedonia. Before them the aviation and the weekend getaways was much more restricted for many Macedonians but now its affordable and reachable to many ppl. One way or another I hope they will stay strong at the Macedonian market. They also have branded credit card with Komercijalna banka so I think they are here to stay.

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    1. Agree with you completely. They also sponsor the marathon and are well regarded in Macedonia. I also doubt very much they are going anywhere.

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    2. guys, only a lunatic would believe that they would withdraw from Macedonia. VMRO claims are scam. They have a super strong position and business is not a soap opera and is orchestrated by money and not feelings. Wizz is making GOOD money in MK. It is normal to consolidate at some time and stop any non-profitable routes. They are doing that in all their bases. They need soome birds NOW for VIE

      What would hurt SKP is that PRN is waking up, so the growths of recent years may be over. Some alanian diaspora heavy routes may be shifted to PRN, at most

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    3. Until they make money they won't go anywhere. It is possible that they reduce some routes when they get competition but they won't go.

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    4. Of course. You don't just withdraw from a market where you have a 63% share!

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  10. What about other airlines like Norwegian, Vueling, Eurowings???

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    1. I don't think there is much point in Vueling competing with Wizz on Barcelona route. Especially with Wizz going seasonal on that route.

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    2. Eurowings scheduled flights for late last year and then cancelled them. But who knows we might see them.

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    3. Norwegian said they were interested in Skopje and Ljubljana years ago but since then no word from them.

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    4. Norwegian is in financial problems so they have other worries. They probably don't have money to develop new routes on the market where they did not fly before.

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    5. But if they get the money from the government why not :)

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    6. Anon @9:44 As I understand Macedonian government is offering subsidies for opening of new routes that are unserved from Skopje or Ohrid. Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and other airports in Scandinavia are already covered by Wizz. There's no much breading space for Norwegian. For others like Ryanair, EasyJet and Eurowings is different story.

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    7. It could offer flights from different markets, not necessarily OSL, ARN and CPH. Helsinki could be a potential destination. There is a sizable Kosovo/Albanian diaspora there.

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    8. How about the Turkish Airlines flights to New York? Any possibility to see Skopje-Kennedy Airport?

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    9. Anon @10:09 Too small market and too risky even with subsidies specially for the airline in financial trouble. On the paper it looks good because they will get some money but on the other hand they will be obligated to maintain the route for three years even if it is not profitable and they are not getting money for empty seats only for passengers they carry. Sorry but Norwegian is not an option. I will be totally surprised to see them anywhere in ex-yu except on Croatian coast during few months of the summer season and on already established routes from BEG.

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    10. @10.10 I think Turkish will be focusing squarely on Air Albania in the region in the next few years. They even gave them the A319 which used to be operated by B&H Airlines.

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    11. @10.09 Norwegian started Helsinki seasonal to Pristina last year, so I don't see much point in them flying this route to Skopje.

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    12. Eurowings has become so unreliable. And they were already selling tickets to Skopje and then stopped. I hope they don't come back.

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    13. Props to Anon @ 10:23 for the sound logic. This is pretty close to reality.

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    14. Anon @10:10 Somebody, sometimes in the past mentioned this as option and now many are hopping that Skopje can get flight to JFK as a stop from Istanbul. Why on the Earth TK will do such a thing? It is much less costly and risky for them to transfer passengers from SKP to IST and then transfer them on flight to JFK there. On this way they have full planes of passengers from SKP to IST that are transferred on several different flights in IST not just JFK. If they start flying IST-JFK with stop in SKP they will make flight from IST to JFK much less attractive for other transfer passengers because they will have one more stop. There is no logic to start such a route.

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    15. How many American tourists visit Macedonia? Is the number growing like in Hrvatia?
      TK is not a stupid airline, if they have suggested this route is because there is potential in it. also maybe they carried out a study in cooperation with TAV so we never know.

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  11. It will be interesting to see if easy will come to Skopje or Nis first.

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    1. I fear that with the change in management and ownership, Nis will have problems of its own in the next few years, which will benefit Skopje.

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    2. I think INI will be first, it has been quiet lately and maybe they are preparing a secret plan.
      Gatwick, Berlin, Barcelona, Orly, Mallorca and Oslo can be nice INI additions.

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    3. It would be nice but I highly doubt INI management will be chasing up airlines for flights anymore.

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    4. INI optimisti :)

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  12. Hope Macedonia allows new players in the market.

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  13. I would love to see Transavia start flights to Macedonia.

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    1. Problem with Transavia is that they have a big shortage of planes in summer months because they are flying a lot of charters in that period. When they solve this problem it is very possible that they start with flights to Macedonia even without any subsidies. I did fly several times with them on BEG-AMS route and I noticed that about a half of all passengers where younger Dutch people. I can see the same thing to happen in Skopje.

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  14. But why just LCCs, why not stimulate legacies to fly to Macedonia. Lufthansa would be a good start.

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    1. Well these subsidies are open for everyone but obviously government favors LCCs. Works better with the electorate.

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    2. The idea behind these subsidies to LCC is to give an opportunity to the majority of people to fly. By subsidizing legacy carrier they will give money to the business passengers and people who can afford to fly without any government help. Also, subsidies to the legacy carriers must be bigger in order to attract them so that mean even more unfair.

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    3. The present - and all of the past ones - tender is *peanuts* in comparison to what Lufthansa would need to cover the risk in opening a SKP flight. Their business model is an order of magnitude more expensive, starting from much lower load factors, bloated ops and corporate costs up to the number of weekly frequencies for a feeder route to make any sense. Which also explains the limited interest by legacies so far. 40k + 10 EUR per departing pax? PEANUTS.

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  15. I can see Ryanair starting some seasonal Ohrid flights from Poland in particular.

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    1. 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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  16. Let's be realistic, Skopje is booming just because the government was funding Wizz like crazy. I seriously think if the Government withdrew all subs, numbers would fall down 10 to 15%

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    1. Totally agree. But it was clear from the start, that the current traffic in SKP is "artificial". It cannot really represent reality.
      If you compare LJU, the traffic over there might be humble, but more organic and natural.

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    2. There are zero subsidies at the moment Anon 11:31. You don't know much do you?

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    3. And the minute there are zero subsidies Wizz suspends one route and downgrades two.

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    4. And that's 10-15% fall in traffic right?

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    5. Well it's just the start. I certainly hope it does not turn out that way.

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    6. You obviously have no clue how the Macedonian subsidies model was set up. Most of the Wizz routes were not subsidized even before the last subsidies ended, and at the moment there are no subsidies whatsoever. Yet, the traffic is somehow artificial and there is doom and gloom on the horizon... Ok

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    7. The norm of SKP is that its traffic is actually comparable to SJJ and TGD for instance. 2 other airports with normal growth and pleasant figures.

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    8. (facepalm)

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    9. Anon at 12:01 hahahah humble traffic at LJU? LJU has twice as more flights a day than skopje!!

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    10. Imagine how SKP would be if Wizz had chosen PRN or TIA. Probably below SJJ and TGD. Half of the flights are filled by Albanians

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  17. Jedini pametni potez koji treba da se ucini u Makedoniji je povecanje placa i boljih radnih uslova u Vazduhoplovnoj navigaciji koja radi za uspjeh svih aviokompanija.Potrebna je fer igra za sve aviokompanije koji rade u Makedoniji.

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  18. W6 have just launched their summer 2019 AND VXO + BCN are BACK!!!! YIPPEEEEE!! :) :)
    BEG-LCA too!!

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    1. They said they would return in summer but it's unfortunate they have gone seasonal.

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  19. U Makedoniji NE ZELIMO vise destinacija ili ekspanziju aviosaobracaja svi zelimo vise mira i spokoja za sve ljude u Ohridu i okolini, Cjeli region Ohrida i okolinu je zasticen zakonima Ujedinjenim Nacijama i Europola o zivotnoj sredini. Dovoljno ni je i to sto imamo danas ne zelimo vise, imamo optimalni broj turista i putnika na Aerodromu u Ohridu oko 100tisuca-Dovoljno je za pristojni ljudski zivot,ko zeli vise neka ide u Skoplju i Beogradu.

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    1. Да пукнеш ме насмеа =)))

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  20. Good 'news'. Hope something actually comes out of this. The most obvious low-hanging fruit being SKP-GVA by easyJet.

    In all seriousness, if the government is thinking about dropping some of the aircraft basing criteria, I'd recommend they drop the requirement to base an a/c altogether and open the possibility for the tender to be won by more than one airline and be awarded on a per-route basis. No need to completely copy/paste the old approach which was perfectly fine in a time where a substantial initial investment and sustained presence were absolutely necessary.

    Obviously I'd recommend sticking with certain criteria as to the airline size and solvency, you don't want just any scumbag with a shady "business model" applying. Regardless whether it's a "local family" or a "big airline JV". You want proper airlines present and committed with their name and money on the line.

    As a side note, it always makes me a bit sad seeing how people around here fail to put into perspective 5 mil subsidies against 200 mil commitment. If I were trying to justify it, I guess it's a mater of general ignorance and lack of trust in numbers so I don't really blame them. It's just that if left unchecked, this can easily be abused by spinning the $$$ into hyperbole, which you can see happen on daily basis and prevents civilized and informed discussion.

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    1. Commitment is firm aircraft order from Airbus, commitments to airports are short term. There was no commitment with VIE at a time planes flying to/from VIE were ordered, and they can be moved around if VIE turns out to be a dud. Same for SKP and any other airport.

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    2. Not without financial repercussions.

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    3. @Tranquilis, here is an alternative take on the latest developments.

      What the Macedonian authorities have done is distort the market. As a consequence, one operator has gained unfair advantage over others at SKP and beyond. Subsequently, the Macedonian authorities are trying to further distort the market so as to make the "playing field" more equal by giving one or more other operators unfair advantage over the dominant operator as well as other remaining operators. The logic behind this seems to be that two wrongs make a right. But we all know that two wrongs make two wrongs.

      A number of people on this site have been skeptical about where the relationship between the Macedonian government and Wizz Air will lead to. It's not Wizz Air's fault that it has become such a dominant operator in Macedonia. Now, punishing it in order bring other operators is unfair on Wizz Air. Subsidies should be open to everyone. You can have tiered subsidies, but of course Wizz Air stands to benefit the most because they can offer more than anyone else and at a lower cost than anyone else because of their market position.

      Even if, say, the new subsidies bring someone like easyJet or even Lufthansa, can you not see how that unfairly hurts other honest operators at the airport such as Turkish Airlines, Austrian Airlines, or even Swiss (in relation to GVA route) who have paid all due fees to SKP from the beginning? Even if you request specific new routes, say to CDG or AMS, how can this possibly be fair on Turkish Airlines (and IST) or Austrian Airlines (and VIE) that have provided decades of honest service to SKP and have invested heavily to create a market for themselves to provide connections via IST or VIE?

      SKP has bitten the bullet and it's stuck with Wizz Air for better or for worse. And rest assured that if Wizz Air is unfairly discriminated in future subsidy programmes then they will sue the relevant authorities. For God's sake, you yourself are stating that they have committed 200m Euros on the Macedonian market and if they were to leave or scale down because of unfair treatment then they would face "financial repercussions." The authorities seemed very pleased when passenger numbers more than doubled since the arrival of Wizz Air, they cannot have it both ways. They better be pleased with the choice of operators or they will face legal actions to protect those "200m Euros investment."

      #anObservaton

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  21. I think MK is doing all its best to try dealing in attracting as much airlines as possible. But the extremely tough fact, similar to Slovenija, is the geographical location. In the area you have serious players competing for the same.
    PRN is barely less than 100km away - already becoming a serious, regional player
    INI - 199km (hurting SKP-ZRH, SKP-BTS, SKP-EIN, SKP-BSL)
    SOF - 240km (90% covered exception Sweden)
    SKG - 235km (100% covered yet very seasonal)
    TIA - 288km (100% covered - direct competition)
    Kraljevo - 300km (built, yet ready to strike at any moment especially flights to IST might become affected)

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    1. yeah distance may be small but with the local roads it takes ages to reach any of those (plus border crossing. LJU story is completely different - Schengen + great highway network

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    2. ^^
      True to some extent, but it's a fact that people opt for SOF, PRN and SKG when the offer is better (I presume lately INI, but that's small). TIA and Kraljevo are not competitors by any means.

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    3. SKP was also competitive when it came to BCN as a destination. I personally made a comparison SKP-BCN vs BEG-BCN with VY and many many times W6 had a better price and slightly better schedule. They also fly to the old, compact T2 in BCN, which ironically enough is much better communicated to the centre compared to the shiny T1.
      Also SKP was a true champion to be able to sustain this route for many years now.
      Одличан Скопie

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  22. Ryanair is shit of airline! 90% of people here who want them to come to SKP has 0 experiance with them. Ryans fleet of 20y old aircrafts is not comparable with new wizzair airbuses.

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  23. Let's just sum it up:

    If Wizz Air wins the tender, Wizz Air will base new aircraft and secure the job for 25 people at least. Those are the public money that should be used for public interests, and first of all for raising employment. That should be aim of the tender. It is not spotting aircrafts.

    If Ryan Air or easyJet win the tender, they WON'T do that.

    Noone bans RyanAir or easyJet. Set the flights, but without subsides!

    And, to make it clear to all those frequent comments: WizzAir CAN'T fly from non-EU ti non-EU, unless they register aircraft in one of those. Stop be serious with SKP-DWC, SKP-KUT, SKP-BEG/TGD and so on. xD

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