Turkish Airlines in talks over Macedonia expansion

Turkish Airlines has held talks with the Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister in Charge of Economic Affairs, Fatmir Bytyqi, and a delegation from the country, including airport operator TAV Macedonia, concerning their expansion on the market. The Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of Turkish Airlines, Ahment Bolat, said, ‚ÄúDuring our meeting with the North Macedonian delegation headed by Fatmir Bytiki, Deputy Prime Minister in Charge of the Economy, we had a productive meeting regarding increasing our flights to Skopje and strengthening our presence in the country with new routes. We thank them for their visit and hope that our cooperation will continue to grow “.

Turkish Airlines is already Macedonia’s busiest legacy and transfer carrier and has recently grown its presence in the country through its lower cost unit AnadoluJet, which maintains seasonal operations from Antalya and Bodrum to Skopje. However, Turkish has seen increasing competition from its local competitors on the Macedonian market. Pegasus Airlines has increased its capacity between Istanbul and Skopje, as well as introduced a new summer service from Izmir, while several other carriers have launched scheduled seasonal flights from the Turkish coast, including SunExpress and Corendon Airlines from Antalya. On the other hand, despite its strong appeal to travelers, Ohrid currently has no nonstop flights to Turkey.

The Macedonian Ministry for Transport and Communication has previously said it has discussed the possibility of Turkish Airlines operating transatlantic flights from Skopje as well, although there has been no further progress on the matter since. Macedonia and Turkey have an Open Skies Agreement in place with both the United States and Canada, which permits for a Turkish carrier to be issued fifth freedom rights by regulators from all parties involved. “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 “, TAV Macedonia said at the time.

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