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Macedonia's Skopje Airport’s busy year comes at a price

TAV Airports Holding, which runs Macedonia's Skopje Alexander the Great Airport, will pay the Macedonian government significantly less for its twenty year concession of the airport since it will handle over one million passengers this year. Under the agreement signed with the Macedonian government, TAV’s fees are reduced based on the airport’s performance. Once the airport handles over one million passengers fees are reduced from 15% of gross income to 2% of the airport’s turnover. As a result, the Turkish operator will provide the government only between 350.000 to 700.000 euros this year compared to 2.7 million in 2012. The operator estimates Skopje will handle up to five million passengers in the coming years.
TAV’s concession fee will no longer cover the subsidies the Macedonian government provides to low cost airlines such as Wizz Air to operate flights to Skopje. Ironically, it is Wizz Air which has led to such impressive passenger growth at Macedonia’s busiest airport and in turn lowered TAV’s concession fee. Currently, the Macedonian government subsidises six of Wizz Air’s routes out of Skopje to the tune of 1.4 million euros and will continue to do so until 2015. In addition, TAV provides incentives to low cost airlines by lowering landing and handling fees. The government’s initiative to subsidise low cost carriers came after talks for Turkish Airlines to base an aircraft in the Macedonian capital failed.
Macedonia’s two international airports, Skopje and Ohrid, have handled 1.003.168 passengers over the past eleven months, climbing 19% on last year. TAV will manage both airports until 2030 and has invested 120 million euros in the construction of a new terminal in Skopje and the overhaul of Ohrid Airport’s passenger terminal. The concession agreement also requires TAV to build a cargo terminal in Štip, which it has delayed until 2020. In 2012 TAV’s revenue in Macedonia totalled 18.4 million euros but it ended the year with a 10.3 million euro loss, according to the Macedonian Central Registry. 

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