Skopje Airport to support transatlantic flights


Skopje Alexander the Great Airport says it is ready to provide the "utmost support" to any airline which would consider introducing transatlantic flights from the Macedonian capital. It comes following talks earlier this year between the Macedonian government, Skopje Airport operator TAV and Turkish Airlines over the latter's possible services from Alexander the Great Airport to the United States and Canada. "As TAV Airports, we are actively promoting both Skopje and Ohrid airports in various fields in order to attract new airlines and expand the route network and passenger numbers. We have always established close relationships with our airline clients through our world-wide airport operations. This is also the case in Macedonia and we are ready to provide the utmost support to an airline which would consider flying transatlantic from Skopje. Skopje Airport is operationally capable to handle such transatlantic flights and ready to support carriers which would consider operating", the General Manager of TAV Macedonia, Alper Ersoy, told EX-YU Aviation News.

Mr Ersoy noted that the establishment of transatlantic services does carry with it certain risks. "First of all, a large passenger base with sufficient demand is needed to secure transatlantic flights from any destination. Transatlantic flights are costly since they require a wide-body aircraft to operate to Skopje. The operational need of a wide-body aircraft, which typically has about 300 seats on board, requires an even bigger market demand than a narrow-body operation", Mr Ersoy said. He added, "Macedonia is a relatively small country with a population estimated to be just over two million. There is a diaspora of about 200.000 Macedonians in the US and Canada each, yet the diaspora is not concentrated in one city or region over there, which makes the demand gathering to accommodate a regular 300-seater aircraft operation even more difficult. And what’s more, not all of the diaspora visits their home country regularly or frequently".

However, Skopje Airport believes that services to the United States or Canada could cater for the entire Balkan area and lead to better connectivity between the Macedonian capital and the rest of the region. "The Balkan region is still immature in terms of connectivity to US and Canadian destinations. Still, most of the passengers originating from the Balkan region must make at least one connection to fly transatlantic, which is a hassle. In this regard, if Skopje manages to serve a transatlantic flight in the future, this will be beneficial for the whole Balkan area. A nonstop flight to North America would lead to additional feeder flights from the Balkan region to Skopje. The airport would attract many passengers from surrounding countries", Mr Ersoy noted. Over 40.000 passengers originating from Skopje travelled to North American destinations in the last year by making at least one connection elsewhere. "Adding a non-stop transatlantic flight would increase the overall travelling comfort of these passengers originating from Skopje", Mr Ersoy concluded.

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