Bulgaria’s GullivAir to launch Skopje service


Bulgarian carrier GullivAir has said it plans to launch flights between Sofia and Skopje after reaching an agreement with airport operator TAV Macedonia over reduced fees. Two weeks ago, the airline initially said it had no immediate plans to introduce services to the Macedonian capital, however, the route has received strong political backing from both countries and is viewed as a sign of warming relations after Bulgaria blocked the start of Macedonia’s accession talks with the European Union just two months ago for a second year in a row. A promotional flight was operated between the two capitals yesterday with GullivAir’s ATR72-600 aircraft, carrying government representatives, the airline’s CEO, executives from Sofia Airport, as well representatives from Bulgaria’s main tour operators and the aviation regulator.

Commenting on the planned new service, Macedonia’s Minister for Transport and Communications, Blagoj Bočvarski, said, "Today, to my great satisfaction, I can announce that the Skopje - Sofia route will launch on March 27. Together with our colleagues from the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as tour operators, we made an important decision affecting both tourism and the economies of both countries. We have a high level of cooperation which will continue to develop in the coming period”. The Macedonian Economy Minister, Kreshnik Bekteshi, said, “Based on last year’s data, there was a double digit increase in the number of Bulgarian tourists arriving in our country. With the introduction of flights, we expect these figures to double on both ends in the coming years”.

Flights between Sofia and Skopje were last maintained between 2006 and 2009. No details have been given on the planned frequencies for the new route. GullivAir launched operations last summer and currently boasts a fleet of three ATR72-600s and one Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which it primarily uses on charter flights. Its only scheduled service is between Sofia and Burgas. However, the carrier is aspiring to introduce transatlantic operations from the Bulgarian capital to New York and Toronto. As a result, Skopje could potentially feed its planned new long haul routes. The airline further intends on introducing services to Tirana and Thessaloniki.



Comments

  1. Anonymous09:02

    Nice. Let's see if it works this time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous09:02

    These political routes are usually never successful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:23

      The Athens flights actually worked out well.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:26

      ^ you can't compare the two.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous13:51

      Good people of North Macedonia can't get enough of Greece. That's why they made everything possible from political point of view to normalize relations.
      Bulgaria on the other hand offers next to nothing to North Macedonia. Greece thrived for a reason. Sofia flights will last like one month.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:05

    I assume Gulliv Air said they were not interested in order to get a better deal. In any case I wish then success and with an ATR I think the route can be profitable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:05

      *them

      Delete
    2. Anonymous15:25

      Yup, clearly a negotiating tactic. Seems to be a solid route, especially with the New York / Toronto connections in the near future. Not to mention hoardes of Macedonians visiting the Bulgarian seaside and attending Bulgarian universities. I wish them luck with this route.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous17:43

      Dream on, Hoardes are visiting Haldiki...

      Delete
  4. Anonymous09:09

    This carrier announced last year that they were introducing direct flights between Sofia and Tirana using ATR72-600 but it never materialised. So, I will believe it only when I see the flights available for booking from their website.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:10

      Same with New York. Announced and never materialised.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous13:34

      Agree, and I wouldn't rush to book with them even if they do tickets on sale.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:09

    If they start fights to JFK and YYZ and offer good fares this route can work. Otherwise people still prefer using the bus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:17

      I still prefer the bus to JFK especially if they start fighting as you write ...

      Delete
    2. Anonymous13:34

      I meant flights obviously

      Delete
  6. Anonymous09:10

    How long would SOF-SKP flight take?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:49

      An official who took the flight told the media that the flight lasted for 35 minutes.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:14

      That's short, especially for ATR standards.

      Delete
  7. Anonymous09:11

    Which airline operated this route before?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:12

      I think it was Bulgaria Air

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:52

      Hemus Air 1990-2006
      Bulgaria Air 2006-2010

      Delete
    3. Anonymous13:33

      Do you know what equipment they used by any chance?

      Delete
    4. Anonymous19:34

      HEMUS Air -Yak40.
      Bulgaria Air-Atr42.
      Many Macedonians used the flights and were successful! There were many transfers in the 90's. Passengers were transferred to the United States, Canada, Australia and Asia on Balkan Airlines. There were also flights to Ohrid.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous21:33

      They are supposed to make connection to BOJ airport.

      Delete
  8. Anonymous09:16

    Will there really be demand?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:13

      Highly unlikely

      Delete
    2. Anonymous15:26

      Almost certainly.

      Delete
    3. Stef21:36

      If they manage to make convenient connections from SOF there's a chance for survival...

      Delete
  9. Anonymous09:23

    The flights will have to operate in the evening or very early morning during the first two months because of Skopje runway reconstruction.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous09:39

    Hope it works!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous09:39

    Nice fleet they've got there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:09

      What are they doing with all those planes of they just have one scheduled route?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:56

      Atr72:
      One for charters to Antalya,Bodrum,Zakynthos, Enfidha,Heraklion from Sofia and Varna.
      One wet leased to Nordica in Sweden.
      And one for SOF-BOJ
      A330- sleeping. (only one flies to Maldives and DominicanaDominicana from SOF,OTP.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous13:33

      Thanks!

      Delete
  12. Anonymous10:08

    I doubt this will work. The two are just 200km away

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:11

      True. It's under 4 hours by car.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:14

      4 hours for 200km?? Is there a proper highway between Skopje and Sofia?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous20:15

      @Anonymous 10:14
      No...

      Delete
  13. Anonymous10:10

    Sofia-Ohrid would make more sense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:12

      Agree, especially for attracting tourists like they want to.

      Delete
    2. U planu je još 5 linija
      Ohrid-Sofija
      -Burgas
      -Varna
      Skopje-Burgas
      -Varna

      Delete
    3. Anonymous13:32

      Seems a bit too optimistic. Hope so though.

      Delete
  14. Anonymous10:15

    I'm interested what the fares will be like for this short route.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:58

      Maybe 60-70 bulgarian lv.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous13:32

      So 30 euros??

      Delete
    3. Anonymous19:42

      The flights from Sofia to Bourgas are at such prices. I think Skopje will be more or less the same.

      Delete
  15. Anonymous10:17

    And again taxpayers are going to have to cover this unsustainable route, which is only being introduced by Bulgaria to reduce EU criticism of them blocking Macedonia accession talks. Bit funny enough it's people in Macedonia that will cover the cost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:12

      Couldnt agree more with you

      Delete
  16. Anonymous11:17

    Reduced fees for this bulgarian political tactical move ? Hm

    They should be treated like any other airline

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous12:16

    Better to invest in a proper rail line.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:31

      +1

      Delete
    2. Anonymous15:30

      Pretty sure works are ongoing, however it's very rugged terrain requiring countless tunnels and bridges. I think I read something like 20 bridges and 30 tunnels in one single 20km section.

      Delete
  18. Anonymous13:53

    Maybe one weekly A330?

    SKP needs to bring back BCN and introduce Malaga flights before Sofia.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous14:26

    ^ I don't like that

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous15:32

    Seems to be a solid, albeit short, route. Though politically motivated, I believe this route to be necessary. I wish Gullivair success.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous19:46

    GullivAir is a wonderful airline! I flew with them from Bucharest to the Maldives last winter. Good crew, good service, good food on board! I wish them success!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous21:48

    Actually GullivAir operates 3 A332's, not 1 as mentioned in the article. Flee with them already 2 times to the Maldives and the Dominican Republic, amazing crew.

    ReplyDelete
  23. https://www.segabg.com/hot/category-bulgaria/guliver-veroyatno-shte-leti-skopie-prez-sofiya-za-kanada-i-sasht

    ReplyDelete

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