As of Sunday, Hungarian low-cost airline "Wizz Air" will start to operate flights from Skopje to six European destinations, subsidized by the Macedonian Government.
The first Skopje-Eindhoven flight will take off today and operate twice a week. It is also the case with the flights to Milan, Malmo, Munich and Dortmund. The flight to Basel is available three times a week.
In line with a three-year agreement, the Government allocates Denar 306 million (EUR 5 million) in Wizz Air subsidies.
According to preliminary announcements from Wizz Air, the new flights will cost the company US$ 80 million, accompanied by the opening of 300 jobs.
The airline is mulling the introduction of direct flights to Brussels, Rome and Barcelona in 2013, depending on the needs of Macedonian passengers.
Expected effects from the Government subsidizing are at least 120,000 new passengers in the first year, rising to 135,000 in the second, up to 150,000 in the third.
The figures are solid indicator for the good strategy of this Government, Vice-Premier Vladimir Pesevski said at at the inaugurating ceremony on Sunday.
"We expect a larger inflow of tourists to Macedonia next year as a direct result of our investment in low-cost air traffic," Presevski said.
Wizz Air Group Executive Vice President John Stephenson said he was very happy that today the company was opening its 16-low cost base in Skopje.
"Since our announcement for the new six attractive destinations, over 25.000 customers, from Macedonia and countries we are linking Skopje to, have booked tickets, raising the total number of Wizz Air passengers to more than 100.000 from the launching of our operations in the country less than a year ago," Stephenson said.
He expects for the number of passengers to reach 300.000 in one year-period. Stephenson also extended gratitude to the Macedonian Government for its support of the promotion of tourism by low-cost flights.
"We are celebrating today's opening of the base by offering tickets at favorable prices of only Denar 550 (about EUR 9) on wizzair.com," Stephenson said.
Wizz Air is the largest low-fare, low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe and operates a fleet of 38 Airbus A320 aircraft from 16 bases with 245 routes connecting 78 destinations across 27 countries.