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Skopje and Ljubljana continue to grow

As August comes to a close, Skopje Alexander the Great Airport has continued to record strong passenger growth seen throughout the year. In July, Macedonia’s two international airports, Skopje and Ohrid, handled 128.808 passengers, resulting in a 12% increase and one of their busiest Julys in years. In the first half of 2013 Skopje Airport welcomed 444.869 passengers through its doors, an increase of 18.2% compared to the same period last year. The growth is being driven primarily by Wizz Air. Such trends should continue in 2014 as the low cost airline prepares to base a second aircraft in the city next spring. Skopje is hoping to welcome one million passengers by the end of the year and eventually break its 2000 passenger record when it handled 1.002.000 passengers.
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Meanwhile, Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport has also seen its numbers improve after years of stagnation. Slovenia’s busiest airport welcomed 575.463 travellers in the first half of the year, a solid increase of 7%. More than half of the passengers welcomed at Ljubljana Airport came from London, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Zurich, Munich and Paris. Foreign carriers accounted for the bulk of the increase with Wizz Air, Montenegro Airlines, Turkish Airlines, easyJet and Finnaair all recording solid growth on their flights to and from the Slovenian capital. Adria Airways’ improved performance also aided the airport’s numbers with the Slovenian national carrier holding a 70% share of all flights at the airport.

Ljubljana Airport is expected to see its numbers continue to improve next month, boosted by the European Basketball Championships being hosted in the country. The airport’s improving numbers have also resulted in improved revenue, with the airport recording a profit of three million euros. Next month, on September 16, the airport’s shareholders will decide whether to go ahead with the planned construction of a new multi million euro terminal.

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Skopje and Tivat see record summer

Skopje Alexander the Great Airport has continued to post impressive results with growth reaching over 23% in August. During the month, Macedonia’s busiest airport welcomed 115.023 passengers, an increase of 23.1% compared to the same month last year. In addition, Ohrid Airport handled 16.463 passengers. As a result, the two airports welcomed a total of 131.486 travellers through their doors during the month of August, up 20.5% on last year. So far in 2013, Skopje and Ohrid handled a combined total of 732.831 passengers, up 17.5% with 8.489 flight operations. The growth is being driven by Wizz Air which is the country’s busiest airline.
Aerodrom Skopje
In August, Istanbul was the busiest route operating in and out of Skopje, followed by Vienna, Zurich, London and Malmo. In the first eight months Ljubljana made it into the top five busiest as the only EX-YU city. The busiest airlines so far this year were Wizz Air, Turkish Airlines, Austrian, Adria Airways and Pegasus Airlines. Skopje will hope to maintain growth next year as well and possibly reach the one million passenger mark as Wizz Air prepares to base a second aircraft in the city next summer and launch several new routes.

Meanwhile, across the border in Montenegro, Tivat Airport saw its busiest month in history. The airport handled an impressive 203.492 passengers in August, up 28.5% compared to the same month last year. A total of 1.098 flight operations were recorded in and out of the city, an increase of 19.4% on August 2012. In the first eight months of the year, Tivat Airport welcomed 657.257 passengers, up 20.2% and saw 3.921 flight operations, representing an increase of 12.2%. Early results from September indicate the airport will extend its record run with growth anticipated to reach between 10 to 15% this month.

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The low cost airline Wizz Air has announced plans to expand its operations out of Skopje

Од Април 2014 Нови 3 Дестинации – Парис – Франкфурт – Брисел

Wizz Air announced their second based Airbus 320 in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia.
wizzair macedonia
Three new destinations: Paris Beauvais, Brussels Charleroi and Frankfurt Hahn, all of them twice weekly from mid-April 2014.

The low cost airline Wizz Air has announced plans to expand its operations out of Skopje Alexander the Great Airport. The no Read the full story

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Wizz Air kicks off EX-YU expansion

The low cost airline Wizz Air will today begin its expansion within the former Yugoslavia by launching flights to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Services from Malmo to Tuzla will be inaugurated this evening. Originally, flights were to begin this Friday, however, strong booking numbers and demand led the airline to bring the service forward by several days. The no frills carrier is set to bring new life into Tuzla Airport, which handled only one passenger in the first four months of the year. In addition, the airline will launch flights from Basel and Gothenburg to Tuzla in June. It estimates it will carry some 30.000 passengers in its first year of operations to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This Friday, Wizz Air will also begin its expansion from Belgrade as it bases a second aircraft in the Serbian capital. The airline will launch flights to Oslo Torp on May 31. On Saturday services to Paris Beauvais will be inaugurated, while seasonal flights to the Greek islands of Rhodes and Corfu begin next month. Compared to the summer of 2012, Wizz Air will boost its flight offer from Belgrade by 58%, with 41 weekly departures from the city.

Finally, the low cost airline will stretch its wings from Skopje as well. On Friday the airline will launch flights from the Macedonian capital to Gothenburg. Earlier this month Wizz Air inaugurated flights from Skopje to Stockholm. Compared to last summer, Wizz Air has increased its operations in the Macedonian capital by 350%, offering 27 weekly departures.

Within the former Yugoslavia Wizz Air is not present only in Montenegro and Pristina. The airline has hinted it is considering expanding its flight offer from Ljubljana, where it currently operates flights to London and Charleroi. Furthermore, it is still keen on establishing services to both Sarajevo and Banja Luka.

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Wizz Air looks to Ohrid and Sarajevo

Wizz Air is continuing to eye new destinations within the former Yugoslavia with Ohrid being the latest point of interest. The low cost airline held talks with city and airport authorities regarding the possible launch of flights from the lake side town, which could attract both diaspora passengers and holiday makers. Mayor Nikola Bakračeski says local authorities are prepared to provide subsidies to the airline for it to launch flights, which would in turn fuel local business and tourism. Wizz Air sees potential in Ohrid as an average of 30% of passengers using Skopje Airport come from south west Macedonia, where Ohrid is located.

Wizz Air has identified northern Italy, Switzerland and Germany as potential destinations from Ohrid. Furthermore, the airline believes it could attract passengers from Albania as well due to the town’s close proximity to the Albanian border. Ohrid Airport is currently served only on a seasonal summer basis by Jat Airways with flights from Belgrade and Jetairfly from Brussels. Wizz Air recently announced flights from Tuzla and already has two hubs within the former Yugoslavia – in Belgrade and Skopje. Wizz Air has a sizable order for 92 Airbus A320s with the airline looking to deploy the aircraft across Central and Eastern Europe in the coming years.

Meanwhile, Sarajevo Airport and Wizz Air are planning to go back to the negotiating table after talks between the two sides collapsed last year. Sarajevo Airport is unwilling to lower its taxes, a key demand made by the low cost airline. “We are negotiating with Wizz Air because we believe that the airline could link us with European destinations such as London and Brussels. We held thorough talks in 2012 and we have not given up. Upon Wizz Air’s request we resumed talks on March 12 in order to reach a compromise and for Wizz Air to launch flights from Sarajevo in 2013”, Vedrana Vikić Musić, the head of Sarajevo’s Aviation Services Sales Office says.

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Skopje to become Wizz Air’s 17th base

Skopje Airport will become Wizz Air’s 17th base as the airline plans to station an aircraft in the Macedonian capital by the end of the year. From October 28 the airline will launch flights from Skopje to Milan, Eindhoven, Dortmund and Munich (Memmingen). All of the services will operate twice per week. Two weekly flights to Malmo in Sweden will launch on October 29 while on October 30 the low cost airline will inaugurate three weekly services to Basel. All of the services will be subsidised by the Macedonian government over the next three years. The low cost airline will continue operating its existing flights from London and Treviso to Skopje.

Wizz Air has also been offered the opportunity to launch flights from Skopje to Brussels. In case of any further expansion at Skopje, the no frills airline will launch the route. Towards the end of the year Wizz Air will base an aircraft in the Macedonian capital. On Thursday, the airline will hold a press conference and announce the new route launches, providing more details on scheduling.

Wizz Air’s expansion in Macedonia comes as a result of the government’s subsidised flights scheme. The only other airlines to have shown interest in the tender procedure besides Wizz Air were Croatia Airlines and easyJet, however they did not put in an offer. Skopje will be Wizz Air’s second base in the former Yugoslavia following Belgrade. Furthermore, in October the airline will launch flights to Ljubljana and still maintains a seasonal service to Split. Earlier in the year talks with Sarajevo Airport broke down after the airport’s management stated that “great demands” were placed by the airline.

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New flights from Skopje announced

Skopje Alexander the Great Airport will soon see flights to six new destinations. The new routes come as a result of the international tender call to low cost airlines which offers government subsidies to those willing to operate flights to the Macedonian capital. The Macedonian Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, said yesterday that the tender is in its final phase and details are soon to be released. However, he did confirm that the new destinations will be Munich, Dortmund, Basel, Eindhoven, Malmo and Milan.

It is being tipped that Wizz Air, which already operates flights from Treviso and London to the Macedonian capital will operate the bulk of the newly announced flights, while easyJet will take the Basel – Skopje route. However, precise details will be announced on June 21. All of the new services are set to begin at the start of the 2012/2013 winter season in late October. The flights will be subsidised over the next three years. Recently, Flydubai also announced its service launch to Skopje from Dubai on October 18.

Macedonian airports are recording the strongest growth in the region this year. The positive trend continued in May as well. Skopje and Ohrid handled a combined total 75.479 passengers, an increase of 14% compared to the same month last year. The exceptional result is despite a sharp decline in the number of operated flights of up to 15%. In the first five months of the year, the two airports welcomed 314.854 passengers through its doors, up 20% on 2011.

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Low cost airline apply for subsidised flight

The Macedonian government has announced an open call for all low cost airlines willing to launch flights from Skopje to six new destinations in Europe. The services will be subsidised over the next three years by the Macedonian government. The tender outlines that the six new routes must include at least one city in Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, the Benelux region as well as central Europe. The new routes are expected to be launched by the end of the year. “The introduction of new flights is important for both tourism and business but also to those living abroad which have to change several aircraft, increasing expenses”, Nikola Gruevski, the Macedonian Prime Minister, said yesterday.

Wizz Air is being tipped as a favourite to apply for the subsidies. The airline already operates flights from Treviso and London to the Macedonian capital. However, low cost airlines from Turkey are likely contenders as well. The move to subsidise flights from Macedonia came after the Turkish operator of Skopje Airport, TAV, was unable to find an airline willing to base an aircraft in the Macedonian capital. EX-YU aviation news can now reveal that in 2011 talks were held with both Jat Airways and Turkish Airlines to base an aircraft in Skopje. Flights to Rome, Zurich and Amsterdam were in play for both airlines. However, in the end, both declined.

Despite not having a home carrier, both Skopje and Ohrid airports have seen a boom in traffic this year. In the first four months of 2012, the two welcomed a total of 239.364 passengers, an increase of 20% compared to the same period last year. In April alone the two airports handled 68.343 passengers, up 19% on April 2011. Earlier last month it was revealed that the low cost Middle Eastern airline Fly Dubai is considering launching flights to Skopje by the end of the year

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