Macedonian airports forecast slow recovery


Macedonia’s two international airports welcomed 782.836 travellers in 2020, with operator TAV predicting it will take “a couple of years” for Skopje and Ohrid’s traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels. Skopje Airport handled 710.711 passengers in 2020, representing a decrease of 69.9% on the previous year and its slowest since 2010, although the overall rate of decline is below the European industry average. Total aircraft movements on commercial flights stood at 7.625, down 57.6%. On the other hand, Ohrid Airport’s passenger figures declined 77.3% on the previous year. Both were closed for commercial traffic for three and a half months, from mid-March until July.

Skopje Airport passenger performance in 2020

MonthPAXChange (%)
JAN164.091 7.7
FEB147.717 7.3
MAR71.627 56.5
APR1.853▼ 98.9
MAY923 99.5
JUN49 99.6
JUL57.419 76.3
AUG67.122 74.6
SEP54.816 76.5
OCT54.017 74.7
NOV44.001 74.2
DEC47.076 73.3

Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News recently, the General Manager of operator TAV Macedonia, Metin Batak, said, "We expect a slow recovery in air traffic, not just for Macedonian airports, but for all within the TAV Airports group. It will take a couple of years for Skopje and Ohrid airports to get back to the passenger traffic levels that we had before the crisis. However, it is ungrateful to predict anything at this point, especially since the main limiting factor for Macedonian air traffic recovery - EU travel restrictions - do not depend on us as an airport operator”. He added, “Besides this challenge for the local market, we need to take into consideration all the challenges Covid-19 has caused for aviation worldwide. Airlines face internal changes, caused by Covid-19, and that creates global repositioning of their destination networks which have been adjusted to the different different travel restrictions across different markets”. 

Travel restrictions imposed by the European Union remain one of the main short-term issues for recovery. “The biggest challenge for recovery of Macedonian passenger traffic are the travel restrictions for Macedonian citizens established by EU member states due to Covid-19. Namely, citizens with Macedonian passports cannot enter any of the EU countries, except if they are essential worker (mostly medical staff) or have a certain type of visa (depends on the country)”, Mr Batak said. Responding to the latest rules introduced by the Netherlands, which requires all passengers to possess not only a negative PCR test but also a rapid antigen test taken four hours prior to departure, Skopje Airport has partnered up with a private laboratory to perform the tests at the airport for those traveling on flights to the Netherlands, but others are also welcome to use it.


Comments

  1. Anonymous09:04

    Recovery will take years across the world.

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  2. Anonymous09:04

    The decline isn't as bad as some other airports.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:31

      It isn't. Skopje was busier than Zagreb in November and December which is a fantastic achievement considering Macedonian citizens cannot travel to EU.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:37

      wow!

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    3. Anonymous10:48

      The diaspora travelled and there are destinations served from Skopje that are not in the EU including its busiest route which is Istanbul.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:52

      I hope for that reason we see Flydubai come back. I'm sure there would be demand for people to travel P2P.

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    5. Anonymous10:53

      I'm quite interested to see if SKP will have more passengers than ZAG in January too.

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    6. Anonymous11:24

      Most likely, there was barely any recovery in ZAG in January.

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    7. Anonymous14:48

      Both SKP and PRN are mainly gasto airports so to some degree there is less of an impact.

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    8. Anonymous18:40

      and ZAG is partly a hub airport that counts connecting passengers twice which makes SKP and PRN results looking even stronger (pre pandemic or not)

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    9. Anonymous18:48

      One day ZAG isnt a hub, has OU which has bad network and connections are terible, but another day it is a hub. Interesting

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:06

    Great that they made arrangements for passengers travelling to the Netherlands. That was quick.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:32

      Yes, very convenient.

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    2. Anonymous10:32

      How much does it cost?

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    3. Anonymous10:54

      Not sure. They set up a mobile lab right in front of the airport entrence.

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    4. Anonymous13:07

      no info on costs on their webpage either

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    5. Anonymous13:48

      These are usually half the price of the PCR test, but not sure about the official price in this case.

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  4. Anonymous09:09

    Hopefully, SKP will reach 1 million in 2021

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:10

      Many airlines will not fly until March and W6 has ditched many routes until the foreseeable future. I really doubt it 1 million can be achieved unfortunately.

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    2. Anonymous10:48

      I also think it will be difficult to reach a million. Remember, last year the first two months were normal (and record breakers at most aiports).

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    3. Anonymous10:51

      Yes but last year they were also closed for 3 months with minimal traffic.

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  5. Anonymous09:09

    So numbers were basically at the same level as pre-Wizz era.

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  6. Anonymous09:16

    During the week EU decided not to introduce vaccination passport. Unfortunately, that will probably mean they will keep their borders shut for non-EU passengers all summer.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:40

      I guess those who were vaccinated will be let in, that's what Greece plans to do.

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  7. Anonymous09:17

    for a country which citizens arent allow to travel in the EU for almost a year now this is a respectable result

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:24

      +1

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    2. Anonymous10:43

      +1

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    3. Anonymous10:52

      Especially if you take into account that SKP/OHD were closed for longer than most airports in the region.

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    4. Anonymous16:27

      Indeed

      Delete
  8. Anonymous10:29

    It'll take sometime to recover and especially pass through the harsh winter. Tough time ahead for airports.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:23

      Bad aviation times

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  9. Anonymous10:30

    It is encouraging that SKP did not slip in -80% territory since the airport reopened.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:43

      despite all the trolling on here :D

      Jan. is looking good in that respect but Feb. is gonna be very close to that number

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:49

      February will be a disaster everywhere not just SKP.

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    3. Anonymous10:58

      Not only is there significantly less traffic there is also a day less in February compared to last year :D

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    4. Anonymous11:57

      @10.30 +1

      Delete
  10. Anonymous12:24

    I was watching on TV right now that since PCR tests were removed for North Macedonians, thousands have started visiting Vranje. I wonder if more promotion can be done for BEG. Shame Wizz can't operate BEG-SKP as they are spectacular at stimulating demand.

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  11. Anonymous13:53

    Which airiness that flew before crisis still have to return to SKP?

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:54

      LOT, Flydubai and Qatar as far as I'm aware.

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    2. Anonymous14:46

      Not bad all things considered. I just hope QR will be back.

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    3. Anonymous14:49

      LOT I'm sure will be back and FZ probably will considering they haven't moved the planned March resumption. But Qatar has been delaying the launch time and again. Let's see what happens.

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  12. Anonymous14:46

    Someone was mentioning here in the comments a couple of weeks ago that TAV is considering ending its concession and that the government is already in talks with others. Is there any truth to this?

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous14:49

      Highly doubt that.

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    2. Anonymous17:24

      That person was saying how QR would take over the airport. I just don't see that happening at all.

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    3. Anonymous18:33

      those rumours are based on reports from one sport online media investigating the process around saving the sport club of Vardar. Thats all

      maybe the cargo airport that was mentioned lately is something totally independent from SKP and OHD airports concessions. Nobody knows really

      Delete
  13. Anonymous15:56

    SKP's recovery will also depend a lot on Wizz Air.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous16:28

      ironically the most affected (paxwise) countries in ExYu are those where Wizz is not flying at all ...

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    2. Anonymous07:09

      Good point.

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  14. Anonymous16:28

    Hope all Wizz routes are restored.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous16:36

      For the time being, all except Salzburg are coming back.

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  15. Anonymous17:16

    Wonder how many pax SKP would have had if there was no coronavirus in 2020, especially how well things started out.

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  16. Anonymous17:23

    Recovery will be long, that's for sure.

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  17. Anonymous17:23

    There is just no demand at the moment anywhere

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:31

      Ofc there is, what on earth are you talking about

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  18. Anonymous18:31

    It might take 4 or 5 years before full recovery at 2019 level.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous22:37

      That's the real unknown. I think if vaccinations stabilize the situation worldwide next year, then there could be a lot of pent up demand.

      Delete
  19. Anonymous19:14

    a new tender or incentives scheme will be very helpful if not essential for the recovery

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous22:36

      Definitely. I just hope more airline will apply and just Wizz.

      Delete

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