Wizz Air starts strong on new Skopje routes


Wizz Air will today base its fifth aircraft in Skopje and introduce a further two new routes, on top of the two already launched from the Macedonian capital and three from Ohrid in 2019. The low cost carrier will commence two weekly flights to Turku in southwest Finland with 169 passengers booked on the inaugural service operated by the 180-seat Airbus A320 aircraft. The inbound flight has 173 travellers booked. Later in the day, Wizz Air will commence services between Skopje and Larnaca. The inaugural flight, operated by the A321 jet, is overbooked by two passengers with a total of 232 travellers, while the return service will see 184 passengers. The new routes will link Skopje with Finland and Cyprus for the first time with a scheduled air service. Both destinations will be maintained throughout the year. Initially planned to start in early July, their launch has been pushed back on several occasions due to operational reasons.


The budget carrier will station its fifth jet in the Macedonian capital, an Airbus A320, with its fleet now comprising of three A320s and two A321s. To mark the occasion, a press conference was held in Skopje today at midday. It was attended by Wizz Air's Corporate Communications Manager, Paulina Gosk, the General Manager of airport operator TAV Macedonia, Alper Ersoy, and the Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Oliver Spasovski. Ms Gosk said, "Wizz Air constantly listens the North Macedonian customers’ demand for new routes with low fare flights and responds by offering opportunities to have a great travel experience. Wizz Air continues to be North Macedonia’s greatest contributor to the aviation, travel and hospitality development. Today we are celebrating the fifth Airbus A320 allocations and new routes from Skopje and Ohrid. We are now operating 38 routes to sixteen countries from Skopje. We welcome all travelers to discover our new and existing European destinations while enjoying Wizz’s low fares and great on board experience".


In order to accommodate its growing operations, Wizz Air will be holding a recruitment day in Skopje next month. The eight new routes launched by the airline from the country in 2019 are being subsidises by the Macedonian government for a period of three years. The budget carrier recently upgraded all of its seasonal flights from Skopje and Ohrid to year-round operations. Last year, the airline downgraded its services from Skopje to Barcelona and Vaxjo, as well as from Ohrid to London Luton, to seasonal summer flights. However, this coming winter, Wizz will maintain operations on all three routes twice per week.


Commenting on the rapid development of its operations out of Macedonia over the past eight years, which have been supported by the state, Wizz Air's CEO, Jozsef Varadi, previously said, "We think that, strategically, it is important for the country to continue to develop its infrastructure and accessibility. Given the stage of development of Macedonia's market at the moment it looks like some government aid is important and it has been a successful recipe for building traffic from Skopje but it is a government decision". Asked whether Wizz would continue to grow its operations out of the country even without state subsidies, Mr Varadi noted, "We would look at the commercial opportunities on a constant basis and if we would find a new route opportunity that is totally justifiable, yes, we would do it on its own merit". Wizz Air handled just over 750.000 passengers on its Macedonia flights during the first half of the year, extending its dominance on the market where it now accounts for 65.1% of all travellers.




Comments

  1. Those are good numbers to start with. Good luck W6.

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  2. And people were saying how neither Turku or Larnaca would work.

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    1. you beat me with this comment

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    2. LCA-SKP 182pax is mindblowing . who are these people? Cypriots? :D

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    3. It was obvious LCA would be successful since they upgraded equipment from A320 to A321 in just 10 days of putting tickets on sale.

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    4. Doubt LCA-SKP is filled with Cypriot holidaymakers as the political situation is still fresh and there is literally no promotion of N. Macedonia in Cyprus.
      Cyprus is home to many Serbs from the south for whom SKP is more convenient/cheaper than SOF which was a popular choice for them. BEG is too far away and too expensive with Wizz Air ripping passengers off.

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    5. I wasn't talking about tourists from Cyprus but with Macedonian tourists going to Cyprus. Politics has no impact. Number 1 holiday destination for Macedonians is Greece.

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    6. Oh Nemjee I remember how you said this route would not work. Now when route is operating year round, aircraft upgraded to A321, flight overbooked you say its working because of people from southern serbia. Please.

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    7. I said that I am skeptical and that they jury is still out. It wouldn't be the first time Wizz Air suspended a route from ex-YU, not to mention that their BEG-LCA has been extremely inconsistent and that's a much larger market than SKP will ever be. So yeah, I think there is some room for skepticism.

      Also we are talking about the first flight in high season, everyone flies full these days.

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    8. Nemjee never misses an opportunity to dis Wizz in BEG, even when it's unrelated.

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    9. I am sorry but facts are facts Anon 10.04 so I don't see what's so controversial about my statement.

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    10. Yeah let us thank South Serbians for filling those SKP - LCA planes. Amen

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    11. Do WIZZ AIR gets subsidies for Turku and LCA?

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    12. I am sure they are grateful as well as they have access to lower fares when flying back home. Also it's a well-known fact that SKP is used by many Serbs and Albanians, so... no need to be triggered.

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    13. @10.12 the article says it. All routes which were launched this year get subsidies for next 3 years.

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    14. i can imagine SKP-LCA to be interesting for pax from southern Serbia though.

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    15. @Nemjee you weren't a skeptic you said the route from Skopje to Larnaca would be a "such a flop". But I guess we will see. Time will tell. So far it looks quite the opposite.

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    16. I wholeheartedly agree, let's wait for the subsidies to expire to see if the route stays. However if BCN didn't exceed 3.000 passengers a single month then I will be surprised if LCA does.

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    17. Believe it or not, big portion of them is tourist on a short hop, weekend or vacation.I know two people on the inaugural flight that changed their plans for Italy/Greece and went to Cyprus instead.Mostly because of the direct flight and affordable fares.

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    18. Subsidies have expired on 28 other routes from Skopje and all have stayed.

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    19. Tickets to Cyprus are cheap!!! One way from €15 to €50!!!

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    20. and 3000 is bad? Apparently they still fly it and this is OK for them.

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    21. Anon 10.20

      Didn't some became sesonal?

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    22. @10.20 No they will all operate year round. I suggest you read the above article.

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    23. I meant @10.22.

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    24. https://www.exyuaviation.com/2018/08/wizz-to-end-two-routes-from-macedonia.html

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    25. Of course flight was full with €15 fares.

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    26. @10.24 despite your best efforts I would again recommend you read the article you are commenting on particularly the second paragraph.

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    27. Anon 10.24

      It's cheap because the government is subsidizing flights so why overcharge people? Wizz knows what it's doing and they are morally strong. Imagine getting money from taxpayers and then asking for €400! It would not make sense.

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    28. BCN is year-round again, check wizzair.com easy as that. Or ask a friend how to do this.

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    29. and yet Malta is increased to 3 weekly. sit back and fasten your seatbelts and enjoy your sparkling Pelisterka

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    30. He doesn't even have to go on Wizz Air website it literally says it in the article, he just has to scroll up

      "The budget carrier recently upgraded all of its seasonal flights from Skopje and Ohrid to year-round operations. Last year, the airline downgraded its services from Skopje to Barcelona and Vaxjo, as well as from Ohrid to London Luton, to seasonal summer flights. However, this coming winter, Wizz will maintain operations on all three routes twice per week."

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    31. Yes but if all flights no longer seasonal does it means they get money from government? Why would WIZZ AIR fly and lose money in winter?

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    32. Apparently reading is not their strength, that is why I refered to the colourful website with some buttons, figures and bling-bling. :)

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    33. And you know Wizz Air flies and looses money? No they don't get subsidies for any other route from Skopje other than the 4 that have been launched this year.

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    34. @10.29 lol

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    35. 10:28

      Oh, so when you get subsidies of 5 EUR per pax it should play heavily in whether you're charging someone 50 or 200 EUR?

      Empty statements flying left right and center around here.

      10:29

      Of course they lose money. There's such a thing as maturity and consistency for the revenue side and financing costs and pax based airport deals on the cost side.

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    36. Ау која прозивка Немјее :)))

      I'd agree with Nemjee, let's not count our chicken before we've had full 12m of ops first, shall we? Especially given it's high season, and 182/220 is ~83% LF. Anyways, happy with Wizz generating some new traffic as it often happens, let's hope it's sustainable as the others before it.

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    37. Let's not forget the flights were delayed and pushed back several times and that's for a reason. Those are also the passengers from previous flights. Let's see what happens in winter.

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    38. go and find the article where Larnaca was announced and you will see who first commented there...

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    39. "Let's not forget the flights were delayed and pushed back several times and that's for a reason" yes a missing/delayed aircraft LOL sorry to disappoint you

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    40. So if planes were an issue how did they add other flights from SKP?

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    41. eh pile moe od mart do avgust mnogu voda ....

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    42. Nemjee always obsessed with Belgrade when the article is about Skopje.
      If someone mentions Larnaca it will always be Larnaca - Belgrade.
      Today we talk about Skopje and Wizzair. Please...people want to know about the rest of ex-Yu too.

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    43. Yet most discussion today wasn't exclusively on SKP or W6 so your theory doesn't make sense.

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  3. To me Turku is even more impressive. I mean, I imagine many people have never even heard of this city.

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    1. Skopje-Turku is mainly for Kosovo market

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    2. You can laugh all you want but it is the case. First of all you should look up the size of Kosovo diaspora in Finland and compare it to Macedonia and then you should look up who are the main workers at Meyer Turku shipbuilding.

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    3. Its funny how no one has any idea how many Kosovo Albanians live in Finland. If it werent for them, these flights would never start

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    4. ^ Ok great arguments from you. Really backed it up well. Have a nice day.

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    5. He probably didn't even hear of Turku before Wizz Air announced this route... just let him laugh.

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    6. Dont feed the troll

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    7. The funny thing is I don't know why someone would consider that embarrassing. It's a testament to Skopje Airport/Wizz that they have positioned Skopje as an airport which is used a lot by people from neighboring places as well who have their own airports but fly out of SKP.

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    8. Albanians have a large contribution to SKP base as a whole, negating that is just not sane.

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    9. It would be interesting to know the % of Kosovars and Albanians (from Albania) flying from SKP/OHD.

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    10. You will be surprised

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    11. call it a hub

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    12. If a car is the first leg, then it is a hub in some sense for the neighbouring countries. In Germany Lufthansa offers tickets for which one of the legs is a Deutsch Ban ride.

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  4. LCA was the route most of us thought had the smallest chance of success from SKP. Congrats..

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  5. they could start PRG any day if they wanted ...

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  6. Their passenger share will probably get up to 70% territory this year.

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  7. I'm happy they started looking at other markets more and not just Germany.

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  8. Why didn't Norwegian introduce HEL-SKP? Why are they avoiding macedonian market like the plague?

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    Replies
    1. DY flies HEL-PRN.

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    2. DY can't compete much on the Macedonian market against Wizz.

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    3. Because it is too expensive and risky to start a route like that to Skopje with out subsidies.

      Read carefully what Varadi says

      "Given the stage of development of Macedonia's market at the moment it looks like some government aid is important and it has been a successful recipe for building traffic from Skopje"

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    4. Scandinavia risky? Malmö is risky? ( its almost daily). they were understimating this market and now they are out of game

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    5. 9:38 - Hindsight is 20/20.

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  9. Are there plans to replace the other two A320s in SKP with the A321s?

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    1. Having 5 A321s based in SKP would be too risky. I doubt all routes require so much seats.

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    2. 5 A321s would be excessive for winter schedule.

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  10. Great news for Skopje. Is LCA mostly filled with tourists going on holiday?

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    1. I dont know about North Macedonia, but in Albania, there have been quite a few holiday packages offered to Cyprus with SKP-LCA flights

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    2. I would assume so. Wonder if tour operators also buy some seats on these flights.

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    3. well they dont "buy" seats in advance, they book seats if you book a package... i have seen Cyprus adverts in macedonian travel agencies combined with Wizz flights and I have even seen "charters to Cyprus with Wizz" lol

      BCN functions that way too. Costa Brava packages are combined with Wizz flights to BCN

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  11. With 5 planesnow, Wizz Air MK is already as big as Montenegro Airlines.

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    1. And with the same number of aircraft they handle double the passenger numbers that MGX handles.

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    2. Well it's not the same number of aircraft. Remember that Wizz flies Ohrid routes from other bases, while their passenger numbers include SKP and OHD.

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    3. Ok, look at it this way. They handle more passengers from Macedonia then Adria handles from Slovenia with a fleet of 12 planes.

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    4. 12 regional planes so your comparison makes no sense. Compare W6 to OU or JU.

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    5. Ok I compare with JU which also has widebody. They had 2.6 million passengers with 21 planes, Wizz last year had 1.4 million with 4 planes.

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    6. You could never compare a LCC to non-LCC. Their business models are just too different. LCC's planes are always in the air, flying, and spend less time on the ground, and their schedule is not coordinated and not aimed at transfer passengers. On the other side, JU for example has their flights in waves made to maximize connectivity, and their planes have to wait longer for flights.

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  12. Notable capacity increase. Good job Wizz.

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  13. Turku is good choice because it serves all of southern Finland.

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  14. MK is basically Wizzair's largest ex-YU market.

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    Replies
    1. Of course it is when you get privileged status, no competition and state subsidies.

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    2. which ex-yu airline doesnt get state subsidies come on dont be a hater

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    3. I'm not being a hater. I congratulate MKD and essentially think it was the right move but I also understand the rapid rise of Wizz in MKD. Find me an ex-yu airline with 65% market share.

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    4. i got you :) but you cannot blame Wizz for being the only carrier that applies ro public tenders.

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    5. The tender is perfectly fixed for them, same for the tender in BUD.

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    6. Anonymous 10:57

      The Macedonian tender wasn't. Fake news. It's public and conditions are easily achievable by any serious airline. They just don't want the risk.

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    7. Оf course they don't want to risk since tender didn't allow to launch any decent routes since all were taken over by WIZZ AIR.

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    8. He didn't even look at the tender so he just starts spreading misinformation that it's fixed. Typical.

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  15. So when can we expect sixth plane in Skopje? :D

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    Replies
    1. you need to ask the gov

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    2. Probably not before 2022.

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    3. Who knows. They're targeting 18-20% growth for 2020, all those planes have to go somewhere.

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    4. one will go to OHD before Skopje gets a 6th

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  16. So after the success of the latest expansion, which routes could still be viable for Wizz from Skopje. Would Madrid be a possibility?

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    1. Madrid would work for sure.

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    2. Current focus is on further development of Ohrid, and there should be plenty of opportunities there. Skopje is purely incremental, and just like in the case of TKU, some less then obvious CEE destinations might be next - KTW for instance.

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    3. First they should work on increasing frequencies to make sure the market remains competitive. Maybe those who are two weekly should become three weekly.

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    4. They could always register in MK and open routes to Moscow, Tel Aviv and Dubai.

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    5. SKP: PRG (damn, how long should we wait for this), a polish destination (KRK or KTW), an austrian destination if they ever lower the fees (SZG preferably), MBX (serving the mk diaspora in SLO), Heraklion, MAD ..

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    6. They should launch SKP-Valencia!

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    7. SKP - Malaga makes more sense then SKP - Valencia in my opinion.
      But I'm expecting second destination in UK or another destination in Italy before any of the other destinations listed above.

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  17. All I can say is well done Wizz and MKD.

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  18. Svaka cast za LCA! Treba doduse imati u vidu da je prvi let odlagan pa na ovom prvom letu sigurno ima putnika koji su kupili karte za nekoliko prvih a kasnije otkazanih letova.

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  19. (for the stat. freaks among us)

    SKP tourist stats for May:
    1. TR, 2.SRB, 3.China, 4.GER, 5.BG, 6.USA, 7.CRO, 8.SLO, 9.SWE, 10.ITA, 11.ALB, 12.FRA, 13.PL, 14.GRE, 15.NED

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  20. We saw other day that PRN is catching up SKP this year. Last year PRN added 115.580 while SKP added 82.372. SKP grew for many years because PRN and INI had limited offer or high ticket prices. This is changing now and they have real competition for first time. Let's see what happens in 2019 and what SKP does to keep its customers from going to INI and PRN. PRN is especially important as it is starting to boom and EW base seems to be an instant success.

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    1. dont get your point. PRN was always ahead of SKP and who cares. let them both grow as much as they can

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    2. Yes but if they were always the same size and all of a sudden PRN starts to grow faster then it means something is changing.

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    3. 2011: PRN 1,422,302, SKP 759,928
      2012: PRN 1,521,185, SKP 828,831
      2013: PRN 1,628,678, SKP 984,407
      2014: PRN 1,404,775, SKP 1,208,359
      2015: PRN 1,549,198, SKP 1,452,465
      ...

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    4. Exactly you just proved my point, PRN is waking up and will regain its dominant position in the region.

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    5. lol "Yes but if they were always the same size"

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    6. dominant smfh dominates who? swiss diaspora

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    7. The region and with more flights people won't need to go to SKP that much. SKP's growth was unnatural and caused by subsidies which is not the case with PRN.

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    8. You should have a look at the type of incentives PRN is offering to airlines. My conclusion is you have no knowledge of either Macedonian or Kosovo market.

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    9. PRN is offering reduced airport fees, MKD is offering money to operate flights. HUGE difference.

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    10. Again I suggest you look at their incentive policy.

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    11. 12:08

      You clearly don't have a clue what SKP and PRN are giving incentives for or are unable to compare them.. PRN ones are volume based and the levels are taken right out of Wizz Air's handbook, based on SKP ones.

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  21. For the first time there were many tourist offers for Cyprus in MK. I had never seen one before. So trust me people are interested in Cyprus, plus the offers were quite ok compared to Egypt and Turkey.

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  22. there is a rumour that Wizz is negotiating a second austrian base

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    1. really? where do you read this? Innsbruck or Salzb?

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    2. from our austrian colleagues. SZG would be a great gasto route

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  23. I'm amazed how triggered some people are by this news.

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  24. Wizz should probably start thinking in launching flights from Macedonia, especially from OHD without subsidies. Many people from wherever abroad would be interested in visiting Ohrid as it is amazing 🙂 OSL/TRF, GOT, HER, BCN, ATH could work amazing. Even better if they register as MK airline, than Moscow, TLV or Eliat, Dubai... can be launched. I hope this will happen soon.
    Anyway, congratulations to WIZZ on this success made so far in the Macedonian Market. 🙂

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  25. Fantastic words from Wizzair CEO: ...it looks like some government aid is important and it has been a successful recipe for building traffic...

    He was talking about SKP, but some other regional governments could use his idea to build traffic, such as JU at INI.

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