Tag Archive | "Turkish Airlines"

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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Skopje Airport continues dream run

Skopje Airport continues dream run

Skopje Alexander the Great Airport has recorded significant growth so far this year with May being no different to the past few months. Macedonia’s busiest airport welcomed 87.992 passengers last month, an impressive 29.6% increase compared to May last year. The strong growth is being fuelled primarily by Wizz Air, which set up its base in the Macedonian capital over the winter months and has increased its flight operations from the city by over 300%. As a result, the number of operating flights grew significantly with a total of 966 logged, up 17.4%. Wizz Air was the busiest airline operating in and out of Skopje in May, followed by Turkish Airlines, Austrian and Pegasus Airlines. The busiest EX-YU airline was Adria, which welcomed 5.313 passengers onboard its flights to and from Skopje. Istanbul proved to be the most popular destination in May, followed by Vienna, Zurich, London Luton and Ljubljana.

So far this year Skopje Airport has welcomed 348.532 passengers, up 16.4% compared to the same period last year. The number of flight operations saw a 6.5% boost during the five month period, totalling 4.320 arrivals and departures. Unsurprisingly, with a total of 810 flights, Wizz Air was the busiest from the airport, handling 120.989 passengers, followed by Turkish Airlines on 46.828, Austrian with 35.095 passengers, Adria with 20.097 and Pegasus Airlines which welcomed 19.774 passengers onboard its aircraft to and from Skopje.

Ohrid Airport has also performed well over the past five months by welcoming 16.826 passengers, up 15.3%. In May alone the airport recorded a 10.3% passenger increase by handling 8.337 passengers. Together, Macedonia’s two airports welcomed a combined total of 365.358 passengers, an increase of 16.4% compared to the same period last year. In 2012, Skopje Airport was the seventh busiest airport in the former Yugoslavia, behind Ljubljana but ahead of Tivat. The airport is still awaiting to break its passenger record of 1.000.200 passengers set in 2000.

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Qatar Airways eyeing Skopje

A high ranking delegation from Qatar will visit Macedonia in March, during which the country’s national carrier is set to announce flights between Doha and Skopje. Macedonian press reports that Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, will be part of the delegation which will be sizing up potential investments in the country. The airline is believed to be planning to launch flights to Skopje at the end of the year. Qatar Airways is hoping to attract transit passengers from the Macedonian capital which would connect onto its flights to Australia, the Far East and South Africa.

Qatar Airways’ potential arrival into Skopje could shake up Flydubai’s operations to the city. Last October the low cost carrier launched two weekly flights between Dubai and Skopje. The service will increase to three times per week during the 2013 summer season. However, the majority of Flydubai’s passengers on the service connect onto Emirates’ flights to Australia. Qatar could also pose as added competition to Turkish Airlines which also depends on large amounts of transit passengers on its flights from the Macedonian capital. The airline will operate two daily flights between Istanbul and Skopje this summer.

Qatar Airways launched flights to Zagreb via Budapest earlier in 2012 and inaugurated services to Belgrade via Ankara in November last year. The airline does not hold fifth freedom rights on the Ankara – Belgrade – Ankara sector. On the other hand, it has been granted rights to sell tickets between Zagreb and Budapest. Whether Skopje will become the carrier’s third destination in the former Yugoslavia will be answered in March.

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B&H Airlines to Skopje from April

B&H Airlines to Skopje from April

B&H Airlines will launch flights to Skopje Alexander the Great Airport on April 1. Services, with the ATR72, will operate four times per week. Originally, B&H intended to launch flights to Skopje during the winter holiday season but instead it opted to postpone the service until the summer. The airline also intends to launch flights to Amsterdam and there is a possibility for services to Zagreb to be inaugurated as well as the Bosnian carrier looks to strengthen its cooperation with Croatia Airlines. Flight details for the Sarajevo – Skopje s

B&H’s return will be welcomed news for Skopje Airport. Nordic Air Sweden has already announced that it will launch flights from Copenhagen to the Macedonian capital in late February while a possible Wizz Air expansion is also on the cards. Furthermore, Jetairfly will resume its seasonal summer flights from Brussels. Skopje will now be served by four national carriers from the former Yugoslavia – Adria Airways, B&H Airlines, Croatia Airlines and Jat Airways. With 828.831 passengers handled in 2012, Skopje will need a significant 20% passenger increase this year if it is to break its one million passenger record set in 2000.

B&H Airlines has operated flights to Skopje on and off for several years. At first the airline flew to Skopje via Podgorica. The national carrier suspended the flights after some time citing low interest. It planned to return to the Macedonian capital in the summer of 2012, however, its fleet shortage and Turkish Airlines’ exit from the carrier made it impossible. A total of five weekly flights were scheduled, departing Sarajevo in the evening with the return flight to leave Skopje early next morning, so as to connect onto B&H’s services to Europe. All EX-YU airlines rely on Macedonian transit passengers to Western Europe, with B&H now ready to re-enter the game as well.

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Flydubai to launch Skopje in October

As was exclusively reported by EX-YU aviation news back in April, Flydubai will be launching flights to the Macedonian capital this year. The low cost airline has scheduled its inaugural service for October 18. A total of two weekly flights will operate between Dubai and Skopje using the Boeing 737-800. It will be the airline’s second destination in the EX-YU region, complementing its existing five weekly flights to Belgrade. At the same press conference Flydubai announced it was also launching services to the Romanian capital Bucharest.

Flydubai’s CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith, said, “Our two latest routes illustrate Flydubai’s commitment to expanding connectivity from the Middle East to new destinations that have historically been underserved. This offers more choice to our customers, increasing international travel options and avenues for trade. Furthermore, our base in Dubai provides the sizeable Romanian and Macedonian expatriate populations around the globe with affordable links to their home nations”.

The new service will most likely have an impact on Turkish Airlines which has so far enjoyed a bounty of transit passengers who choose to fly via Istanbul to various points in the world. Flydubai will also hope to catch the attention of the Macedonian diaspora in Australia who will be able to transit via Dubai to Skopje. The airline has so far been unsuccessful in attaining a major share of Serbian diaspora passengers from Australia on its services to Belgrade. Flight details for the Dubai – Skopje flights can be found here. Tickets are already up for sale.

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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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FlyDubai thinking about Flights To Skoplje

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.

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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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