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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Qatar Airways eyeing Skopje

Soon in 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.

52 comments:

  1. I doubt SKP would be a direct service, maybe they could link it with Tirana?

    One thing is certain, the end of Turkish Airlines' Balkan domination is over.

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  2. Good news for SKP.

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  3. It's has positive and negative side too . If they hope to attract transit passengers from Australia , maybe they hope too much . QR currently fly to mel and per . While EK fly to every major city in Australia , so transit passengers will continue to Fly Dubai . QR first needs to introduce flight to syd and bne , on that way they will compete with EK . I tried QR , EK and EY , but in terms of quality of service QR is the best . Their b772L is better then EK a380 or b773er .

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  4. OT: SkyWork to cease Bern - Belgrade flights from April, allegedly due to high route maintenance costs, despite good loads.

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    1. What a shame. A bit of a quirky route, which is why I loved it!

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    2. Every time I flew it, it was half empty.

      Shame, though. LOVE Berne airport.

      Their flights were too expensive, though. Otherwise I would have used them more. They were really only good for last-minute one-way

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    3. But Bern-Zagreb is not canceled.

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    4. Zašto bi bio Zagreb ukinut ako se ukida linija za Beograd?

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    5. Wizz air blowed them! I bought return ticket BEG-BSL for 5 EUR on sale. If Easy CH enters market that would be just great!

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    6. It is not possible 5 eur for BEG-BSL-BEG. They sometimes make special offer and than you can have the best possible price of 50eur (with no lugagge at all)!

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    7. That's unfortunate :( It would be great if we knew the loads/number of passengers (guess loads would be hard to calculate since they changed the a/c type frequently)...

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    8. @Anonymus 6:25
      Well I bought 2 return tickets for 1060 RSD which is even a bit less than 5 EUR per ticket. If you dont believe and really want to see it you can leave your e-mail and I will send you reservation.

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  5. Looks like SKP getting ahead of ZAG...

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  6. They should do what FlyDubai did with Sarajevo - Dubai route - cancel iz before it starts. Cause flying an empty so far plane would be just stupid...

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  7. QR has taken a very pragmatic approach to expanding its destination list without extra narrowbody planes entering the fleet: one-stop services. And given the timings work so well to fit in with the waves, there is clearly untapped demand the airline is successfully taking at this time.

    SKP would be a great addition to their network - i'd guess partly aimed at VFR traffic ex Australia. The question is whether SKP is the interim stop to another destination (either existing or new), or becomes the terminating destination via somewhere back to Doha.

    There is huge potential for exYU-M.East traffic: TK will have its work cut out if they face serious competition! OU should be starting flights to DXB (their 319s are capable non-stop), and the rumour mill abounds that EK is going to announce BEG...

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  8. TK will not stand still (not because of SKP, but because of its entire network) and will expand their offer to Asia and Australia (they are opening new routes to Africa and Asia as we speak, such as Colombo).

    TK double daily vs QR/FZ twice or thrice weekly is not a contest. My money is firmly on TK and Star Alliance as far as the Balkans market to Asia/Africa/Australia is concerned.

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    1. Start Alliance kind of holds whole Balkan region pretty tight - I don't see other alliances having any meaningful presences in the region, especially after Malev collapsed... TAROM is small player even in Bucharest, so we can't talk about SkyTeam presence there... Every other market is dominated by Star Alliance (or low costers which don't participate in the long haul game...)

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  9. Yeah, maybe when they start flying daily they can snatch some pax. I think Qatar will do well in places like OTP , BEG , BUD but i dont see them having a chance in the western balkans simply due to star monopoly.

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  10. Qatar on DOH-BUD-ZAG route use A321 almost everyday. Maybe at the end of year they start direct flights.

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    1. I highly doubt it is the demand from zagreb. Why would ya be on a small plane for seven hours when you have TK.

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    2. In summer on ZAG-BUD-DOH QR will use widebody plane, by information inside company. That is because of demand, as all winter they use A321 and during summer planes were almost 100% full. In same time you should know that today there is more pax from ZAG than in beginning, and that even on some days there is more than 50% of pax from ZAG, especially when there are groups of Japanese tourists.

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    3. Give me a break, who is selling you that junk? QR flies narrow-bodies to some major destinations in Western Europe and you expect them to send an A330 to Zagreb?

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    4. "on some days there is more than 50% of pax from ZAG, especially when there are groups of Japanese tourists."

      Well that's kind of obvious - Croats alone can't ever fill half of the plane. Even on this topic there is nothing to compare between ZAG and BEG. Croatia (not ZAG) is a major tourist/seaside destination, as well as BUD, while those going to BEG (on QR) travel mostly for business or personal reasons. I am certainly not impressed that BUD+ZAG can therefore manage to fill an A321 70% of the time, given that both cities don't have any other direct link to the Middle-East. Belgrade has TK double daily, FZ and now even Pegasus - 4 companies competing on a similar market, without counting 2/3 daily flights to Moscow (one on A321 almost daily) that takes a lot of East/Asia-bound pax. QR can achieve success and push back TK in Belgrade only if they were to start daily flights, there is no other option.

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    5. To end all the polemics on this subject, this week i'm gonna come up with exact and precise statistics of QR947/948 flights but from what i can see at first glance, more than 70% of traffic starts OR ends in BUD, and that includes people travelling on the ZAG-BUD-ZAG segment.

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    6. It would be interesting to know what percentage of passengers arriving on QR flight continue onward to coastal destinations (Japanese tourists?) using OU. Interlining with QR might be a good opportunity for OU.

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    7. My source is inside Qatar Airways.

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    8. @Anon 1:18

      I don't really see the difference between "small" and "large" plane with QR. They have great recliner seats and full IFE in A320 and A321, so service is on par with their widebodies. By the way, although tag flight makes the trip to DOH a bit too long (7 hours, roughly), extra meal service is cool and half-empty plane for half of the journey is also cool.

      Also, their scheduling is such that connecting times in DOH are just shorter, so I don't really mind the tag.

      By the way, I am from BEG - I suppose all said goes for ZAG as well. What I miss are daily flights.

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  11. On top of that, australia and the former Yugoslavia is very overrated fuzz that simply does not deliver. The expats do not travel too often to their yugo countries because it is expensive. Aussie stats show an average person goes every seven to ten years. I know that some will say they go often, but there is one next to you that goes every ten years or so. I start pissing my pants when I hear optimistic numbers of ex yu dijaspora living in aussie. That is that, than you have uber alles germany crew that just fly star junk. So my money is on bigger cities for gulf carriers.

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    1. Croatia was visited by 50 000 Aussie visitors in 2012, this is before Qatar came, things should improve dramatically in 2013, expect 20 000 increase on 2012 figures at least.

      At to Croatian ex-pats not many visit their homeland perhaps 20-30 000 visit Croatia each year, data for this is not available as most use Croatian passports so they're treated as domestic visitors. in 2012 number of domestic visitors who came from abroad was way up, 5.5% increase in arrivals.

      2013 should be a record year for Croatian Tourism when 12.7 million visitors are expected and 75 million nights and revenue of 8€ billion.

      Zagreb is also expected to do well, sales in Japan are doing well, South Korea as well, from where 120 000 and 80 000 visitors are expected, Chinese market is also important for Croatia and in 2012 20 000 Chinese visitors visited Zagreb, 2013 40 000 are expected.

      Also JAL and Korean are introducing extra flights for Zagreb this summer, JAL plans 16 flights and Korean no data yet, but they are talking increased season flights.




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    2. The number of Australian tourist in Croatia was well over 100,000 last year.

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    3. Sadly Sydney has bigger Croat Diaspora then melb and qatar dont provide flights same as serbs only masos have a bigger presence in melb then sydney

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    4. You need to take into account of that 100k aussies how many were contiki and other tour operators that travel by bus, how many were back packers and how many were just doing a euro tour realistically most non-croat and non-serb aussies dont fly direct to croatia nor is it there only destination...

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    5. Any chance of JAL sending over 787 (when they're fixed)? That would be pretty cool :)

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    6. Just had a look at tourism figures for 2011, Croatia was visited by 85 000 Australians visitors, more than enough for direct link between the two countries, its only a matter of time.

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  12. nothing is a competition to TK... lovely service, and at least 2 flights per DAY to all major balkan cities vs. QR 2-3 flights a WEEK (zagreb via budapest not included) is really no competion.... QR just can win Aussie bound pessangers... but major middle east, african and asian cities belong to TK..... Simply, coz of better connecting time/options and no-visa rules for Turkey for ex-yu countries, what is not the case for Qatar visa..... anyhow competion is always good, but TK will still be a market leader in the balkans.....

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  13. Purger hahahaahahahahahahaha

    Dude it is in amadeus what plane is going to deployed to zag. First before they even think about anything, they have to seperate the flights, than daily service to be put in place and than to see if there is a chance for a widebody. Typical uber alles propa

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    1. Once again, information is from one of worker of Zagreb office of Qatar.

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    2. Is the word "of" what you use instead of a sign of interpunctuation? Do you have stammering issues when you talk?

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  14. @exyuaviation

    PRESS REPORTS ?? sorry but please provide a link to those "Macedonian press reports" where it is mentioned that Al Baker will be part of that delegation.... (or u just made that up)

    All we know at the moment is
    "At a meeting with the CEO of Qatar Airways, it was underscored that plans are being made for launching a direct charter line between Doha and Skopje by year's end"

    and some delegation will visit Macedonia in MArch . and thats all.

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    1. http://faktor.mk/archives/18801

      is now ok ?

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    2. nope. that OLD article doesnt answer my question (sto se blamiras za dzabe)

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    3. ne mi e jasno sto sakas ??? Ovaa za toa deka doaga izvrsniot direktor na QA vo MK na pregovori so direktorot na agencijata za civilna vozduhoplovidna na MK za da preciziraat detali za linijata SKP-DOHA e vest koja kruzi veke mesec dena vo MK !!!! A neznam sto sakas ti !!!!!!??? Bidi Mi pozdraven ;)

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  15. Hmm,i dont know what to think about QRs strategy.If you can call it strategy.I dont think QR would fly to Skopje as much as i dont believe that FZ ever intended to fly Sarajevo.But who knows?
    Air Arabia is maybe not the only airline that is misled.

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  16. There are some quite interesting comments and presumptions here, one is for sure - if this news is a truth, I mean negotiating only, it already deserves one WOW ! Guys, bear in mind that QR is becoming very soon a part of One World, this could be not that much interesting for Balkan- rest of Europe travelers, but for intercontinental ones it is. Although I am Star Alliance Gold member, and can not even compare IST and DOH stopover (of course, in favor of wonderful Istanbul City and Istanbul Ataturk Airport), I do not intend to pay up to 500 E (!!!) more to Turkish Airlines, especially on Asia- Europe-Asia route ! I think QR is doing just great in ex-Yugoslavia, I also think that is very strange why Emirates didn't do, or, at least, try the same and I really hope that my favorite European company - THY will learn a lesson and change a ticket price policy on time ! Everyone have a great day :)

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    1. If stopover is your only criteria, I can't imagine why you find IST that great - their *G lounges are nothing to write home about. On the other hand, hellhole DOH currently is (but, not for C pax, a very important point for someone who maintains G status!) will be something completely opposite in few months time.

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    2. When was the last time you visited Ataturk THY CIP lounge ? After renovation, that is the best European Business Class Lounge and among top five in the world ( I mean Business Class, First Class lounges is another story). My first criteria when choosing air carrier is reputation of the company, along with price. After that is stopover and that is, of course, matter of taste, but there's only few cities in the world which can compete with Istanbul and Doha is definitely not on that list, especially with visa issue. About New Doha International Airport, I wish them all the best, they are putting a lot of efforts in Company development and image and I really wish them a great results and to open , finally, Airport on the date they promise (except that no one is sure which date it actually is - 12/12/2012 is already behind us, as well as several promised dates before ...) :)

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  17. Sadly the post is right about emirates connecting flights to australia being better suited.... Only a month ago we had a prominent serb dj come to our events in australia and had a issue at airport where he missed his flight from beg after frantically looking at alternate flights to get him to dubai i came across qatar departing few hours after only to find no connecting flights from qatar to dubai for the day so had to pray and hope that the snow storm that was bound to hit for that weekend would pull through and he would get here which thankfully he did.... However Al Baker really needs to get over the whole dont wanna fly to sydney cause of the airport curfew thing if he really wants these eastern block expansions to work.... A decision for a second airport here wont happen for at least another 2 years and wont be built till 2020

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    1. While sorry to read your DJ missing his flight, its pretty obvious you don't understand the notion of an airline hub and waves of flights.

      The curfew in SYD means airport cannot take any flights at times QR would need to operate to arr in DOH (~6am for onward connections) - a 9pm arrival and 11pm departure going on their current MEL/PER scheduling.

      I don't know whether SYD needs another airport (that's not a discussion for this forum), but the problem isn't with Al Baker. He's obviously running a successful business without needing SYD as a destination!

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  18. Office cleaner from Belgrade airport told me that Qantas is heading to BEG. Widebody too.

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    1. LOL, haha!!!

      Qantas won't be coming to Belgrade any time soon, they are happy with current routes they've got, no major expansion plans.

      BTW its one of the best airlines in the world, and safest.

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  19. Guys please delete these annoying advertisements posted on this blog.

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