ČSA to suspend Skopje flights

ČSA farewells Skopje
ČSA Czech Airlines will suspend services to Skopje at the end of the 2011/2012 winter season on March 25. The Czech national carrier is in the process of implementing severe service cuts as it looks to curb losses and become attractive to a potential new owner. A total of six weekly flights were planned between Prague and Skopje this summer. The airline has relied heavily on transfer passengers on the route. Over the past few years Prague has constantly featured as one of the top ten busiest destinations being operated out of the Macedonian capital on an annual basis. Skopje won’t be the only causality of ČSA’s service cuts as the airline also intends to suspend flights to Athens and Oslo.

Last year, ČSA terminated flights to Belgrade as well, despite having a complete monopoly on the route. It even operated double daily flights between the Czech and Serbian capitals in 2011. Elsewhere, in the EX-YU region, ČSA will be reducing flights to Ljubljana from twelve to ten times per week while flights to Zagreb, the airline’s first international service dating back from 1930, will increase from five to six weekly.

Skopje Airport recently saw another cancellation, as the low cost Italian airline Blu-express terminated its two weekly service from Rome due to poor loads. The route has been operating for only two months. Skopje Alexander the Great Airport handled just over 800.000 passengers in 2011, making it one of its best years in recent history but still short of its all time record of 1.020.000 passengers achieved in 2000. B&H Airlines and Jetairfly from Brussels are the only new airlines to announce flights to Skopje this summer, with Jetairfly to operate only a seasonal service. MAT Airways, which operated regular charter flights from Skopje last year is unlikely to get its license renewed by the Macedonian Civil Aviation Agency. It expires on June 15. The airline has been grounded since September 2011.

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