Skopje in talks over Qatar Airways and Flydubai return

Operator TAV Macedonia is engaging with both Qatar Airways and Flydubai over their potential return to Skopje after they discontinued operations to the city at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. TAV Macedonia’s General Manager, Nejat Kurt, said, “We would like to re-establish destinations such as Doha and Dubai, which were discontinued by Qatar Airways and Flydubai during the Covid-19 crisis. We are working towards achieving this goal and have held meetings and negotiations with the airlines, supported by the embassies in these countries, but the decision is ultimately made by the airlines themselves”. Skopje lost nonstop flights to the Gulf following the withdrawal of the two carriers from the market.

Flydubai launched flights to Skopje in October 2012 and maintained the service until March 2020. In its last three years of operations, passenger numbers averaged at around 27.000 per year. Since the pandemic, within the region, Flydubai introduced operations to Ljubljana and doubled its frequencies to Belgrade, while restoring flights to Zagreb, as well as seasonal services to Dubrovnik and Tivat. On the other hand, Qatar Airways has told EX-YU Aviation News services to Skopje will resume once commercially viable. The Macedonian Minister for Transport and Communications, Blagoj Bočvarski, previously held talks with the Qatari Ambassador to the country, where he emphasised the need for Qatar Airways to restore services between Doha and Skopje. “It is especially important for us to renew the flights between Skopje and Doha, in order to maintain business relations between the two countries”, Mr Bočvarski said.
In 2019, the majority of Qatar Airways’ Skopje passengers were transfers. They primarily originated or were destined for the Australian market – 33%, followed by India 7%, Thailand 5% and Singapore 4%. In its last full year of operations, in 2019, Qatar Airways handled 29.856 passengers on its flights to and from Skopje, which was almost the same as the year before, when it welcomed 29.874 travellers on the route. Qatar Airways recently said that the pace at which new routes will be introduced in the coming years will depend on aircraft deliveries which are being increasingly delayed by manufacturers.

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