Flydubai has begun a feasibility study into launching flights to the Macedonian capital Skopje, a source at the airline has confirmed for EX-YU aviation news. The low cost airline is pondering at the prospect of tapping into the Macedonian market, following last year’s launch to Belgrade. Currently, data and costs are being crunched, although the airline has been enticed by subsidies which are being offered for low cost airlines by the Macedonian government. The subsidies are set to run until at least 2015. Furthermore, there is a sizable number of transit passengers the airline could carry from Macedonia.
Before a decision was made to look into Skopje, Flydubai was considering launching flights to Zagreb. However, the airline decided against the move due to operational purposes. While Flydabai’s Boeing 737-800s can make it to Zagreb, the crew’s duty times would expire on the return leg. Thus, this would require a mandatory rest period for the crew in Zagreb, which would increase costs for the low cost airline.
Late last year, the Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency said that flights between Skopje and Dubai would be launched in 2012, although it never revealed the airline in question. This summer, Flydubai will operate five weekly flights to the Serbian capital, its only destination in the former Yugoslavia. It has so far had mixed success on the route. Flydubai’s potential service to Skopje would indirectly compete with Turkish Airlines, which takes the bulk of Macedonia’s transit passengers (some 14% so far in 2012). If all of the numbers add up, Flydubai will launch services to Skopje later on in the year.