New seasonal routes, regular flights to Split and Belgrade: The summer flight schedule of Macedonian airports begins

Skopje International Airport (Photo: TAV)

New flights and new airlines from domestic airports are announced during the summer season. The summer flight schedule starts to apply from tonight at midnight. TAV Macedonia told MIA that they expect a successful summer season and that this year will be a year of complete post-pandemic recovery.

- "Lufthansa" will start flying on the Frankfurt-Skopje-Frankfurt route from April 23, with ten flights a week. A new destination, Split, will be introduced by Croatia Airlines from Skopje Airport. The airline will fly between the capital of North Macedonia and the tourist center of Dalmatia during the summer season, from May 12 to October 14, 2023, twice a week. Another novelty comes from the Ohrid airport and the Air Serbia airline, which will renew the Belgrade-Ohrid route from June 2023. The Macedonian tourist and cultural center Ohrid will be connected by plane to Belgrade four times a week, TAV Macedonia told MIA.

As in the past summer seasons, this one too, there will be seasonal flights from the Skopje airport to summer destinations such as Antalya, Izmir, Bodrum, Hurghada and Tunis (Monastir/Enfida). These seasonal flights usually start at the end of May until October.

- Of course, we also expect more passengers from the seasonal routes of the Ohrid Airport than the traditional destinations/countries that are flown from/to during the summer season, such as the Netherlands (Amsterdam and Maastricht) and Poland (Warsaw and Katowice). With this, TAV Macedonia expects a successful summer season and expects this year to be a year of complete post-pandemic recovery, say TAV Macedonia.

Photo: Dragan Mitreski / Free Press

According to the current flight schedule for the Skopje airport, 20 airlines fly to a total of 44 destinations, while six airlines fly to nine destinations from the Ohrid airport. However, as the airport operator points out, the order of flights can always undergo changes, that is, as they receive the information from the airlines. This is the reason why TAV Macedonia always advises travelers to monitor the Skopje and Ohrid airport websites for real-time updates and, of course, to check with the airline they are traveling with.

According to TAV Macedonia, overall, the winter season can be considered successful, especially, as they emphasize, if we take into account the fact that we are still in some way transiting from the crisis period and we strive to exceed the numbers of 2019.

The airport operator points out that the two Macedonian airports, Skopje International Airport and St. Apostol Pavle Ohrid had a successful year 2022 with a significant recovery of passenger air traffic, reaching approximately 2,4 million passengers or a total of 2.371.423 passengers and 19.448 realized flights.

-If only the figures for the winter season, 2022/2023, or the period from October 30, 2022 to March 26, are taken into account, the results follow the positive rates of air traffic recovery after the crisis. Approximately 340 passengers traveled from the two airports, Skopje and Ohrid, in November and December. However, what makes us especially happy is that we started 000 with an upward trend, or the first two months show positive results in relation to 2023 and 2022 as a reference year, TAV Macedonia points out.

Skopje, June 29, 2020 / Photo: Dragan Mitreski - Free Press.

There were a total of 310 passengers at the Skopje and Ohrid airports in January and February, which is an increase of about 127 and 35 percent, respectively. Compared to 56, January this year has an increase in the number of passengers by three percent, while February is almost at the same level as February 2022.

- The figures for the number of flights realized also show a good positive trend, and the total flights in the period from November to February amount to 5480, which again on a monthly level, individually records an increase in the number of aircraft movements. Cargo traffic for the same period of four months is 1133 tons. As the winter season is still going on, we do not yet have figures for the statistics and traffic figures for March, however, considering how the year has started, we are confident that the figures will show an increase in passenger traffic and flights, told MIA from TAV Macedonia.

New airlines in the country are expected with the call for subsidies. On March 1 last year, the last of the three contracts for subsidized flights with the Hungarian low-cost airline "Wiz Air" ended. The current call for subsidies followed the cancellation of the previous one announced by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, to which the airlines "Wizz Air", "Lufthansa" and "Aegean Airlines" applied, but the Evaluation Commission found that they did not submit the prescribed complete documentation.

From TAV Macedonia, when asked by MIA how this flow of things is reflected in the subsidization of airlines, they say that as an airport operator they would be happy to welcome and welcome new airlines and that they will continue to make efforts and invest in excellent airport services.

- Subsidies granted to airlines are an excellent instrument for the state to attract new airlines to start operating from Skopje or Ohrid airport. New airlines always bring new destinations, increased frequencies and competition, and finally, people can choose from a wider selection on the destination network map and will plan their trip with the best offer and flight. The addition of new airlines and the establishment of new airlines are also beneficial in increasing opportunities for domestic and international passengers traveling from our airports, for the business community and also for the region, as passengers from the gravity zone would be further attracted to travel from our airports. . Another benefit is also that it can make our aviation market recognizable in the region with a wide network of destinations, the airport operator points out.

The current call for subsidies grants financial support for new airlines for the period 2023-2025. The amount for subsidies for this year is 1,1 million euros.

The financial support will be awarded according to the criteria for ranking the new destinations in the following order: period of operation of the destination, number of weekly flights, attractiveness of the airport to which it operates and number of seats offered for sale.

Photo: WC Archive

The support will amount to seven euros in denars per departing passenger transported from Skopje International Airport and 4,5 euros in denars per departing passenger transported from St. Apostle Paul - Ohrid.

All interested airlines that meet the criteria can apply to the public call: they have an operating certificate issued by a member state of the European Union in accordance with the regulations for issuing operating certificates to air carriers, they have transported at least 10 million passengers in 2019, have made a profit of at least 25 million euros in 2019 and submit a notarized statement that the destination for which it receives financial support from the state and after the end of the financial support continue to operate it for the period for which it received the subsidies. Otherwise, he will be obliged to return the entire amount of funds he received as financial support.

Offers on the call can be submitted until the 31st of this month, and the opening is scheduled for April 3 this year at 12 noon.

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