Tag Archive | "Montenegro"

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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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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Ex-YU airlines should unite

The Secretary General of the Association of European Airlines, Ulrich Schulte Strathaus, has told the Slovenian daily “Dnevnik” that in order for the national carriers of the former Yugoslavia to survive they will need to unite into a single airline. “The once single Yugoslav market is now fragmented and a regional solution is necessary. The region needs an airline that would cover local needs and connect with global hubs”, Strathaus says. He notes that he recently discussed the issue with Adria Airways’ management. “It would be great if Adria Airways, which has extensive knowledge of the Balkan market, were to initiate a regional summit which would be dedicated to this issue, however, due to political quarrels I doubt this could happen”, Strathaus adds.

The Association of European Airlines counts 34 members, mostly national carriers. Adria Airways, Croatia Airlines and Jat Airways are all members. Montenegro Airlines also used to be a member of the association but mysteriously left after a few months. Strathaus believes that certain markets in the former Yugoslavia are too small to have their own national carrier. He notes that Serbia can’t find an investor for Jat, Croatia Airlines and Montenegro Airlines are operating with mounting problems and that B&H Airlines will go bankrupt when Turkish Airlines ceases financing it.

Last year, an idea to unite the former Yugoslav aviation market was put on the table during talks between the Serbian government and Turkish Airlines. It was suggested that a regional airline, Balkan Airways, could serve as a national carrier for Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia. In September 2011, Croatia Airlines and Adria Airways reached an agreement over a common business plan model. The two airlines agreed to strengthen ties and cooperate on jet leasing as a means of improving efficiency and streamlining fleet utilisation.

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