Air Serbia, the national airline of Republic of Serbia, and TAV Macedonia, the company that operates Macedonian airports, today at Ohrid St. Paul the Apostle Airport, have launched the new route Belgrade-Ohrid-Belgrade, celebrating the expansion of Serbian airline network in Macedonia.
The maiden flight to Ohrid, which lies on the banks of a pristine lake of the same name, took off from Belgrade at 1.25 pm and landed at St. Paul the Apostle Airport at 2.45 pm, where it was greeted by a water cannon salute.
On board the aircraft was a group of airline representatives headed by Michael Youlten, general manager services of Air Serbia, who was warmly welcomed by a delegation of tourism and government officials.
-Ohrid is a fantastic addition to our flight network and a popular drawcard for holidaymakers with its scenic lake and water sports, fishing and boating trips. The town attracts leisure travellers from across Southeast Europe, who can now take advantage of our convenient connecting flights over Belgrade to experience its many attractions. We know air travellers are looking forward to our Ohrid service, and are thrilled to make this fascinating town, which is said to have had 365 churches, one for every day of the year, more accessible. Tourism is fundamental to our growth as an airline, and we will continue to evaluate opportunities to establish air services to summer hot spots, stated Dane Kondic, Chief Executive Officer of Air Serbia.
The new flight will be operated on Monday, Wednesday and Friday using an ATR 72-series turboprop aircraft with 66 seats.
-We are happy that after 3 years of break, Air Serbia flights Belgrade-Ohrid-Belgrade are reestablished again, for the beginning during the summer period, 3 times per week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This route will increase the interest for faster and more comfortable arrival of tourists from neighboring Serbia, having on mind their interest for the natural beauties, the history, the culture and the tradition of Ohrid. This route would be convenient for our expatriates who live in USA and oversees countries, through the new established route Belgrade-New York, so they can easier and faster come in the motherland. We hope that the launch of this route, along with the operations on the regular route Skopje-Belgrade, will be encouragement for enrichment of the good cooperation between TAV Macedonia, as an airport operator and Air Serbia, as an airline, stated Zoran Krstevski, TAV Macedonia General Manager.
Ohrid is situated on the north-western banks of Lake Ohrid, one of Europe's oldest and deepest lakes, with more than 200 endemic species. The lake was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and attracts thousands of tourists every year.
In addition to flying to Ohrid, Air Serbia operates a daily service to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia and its cultural and economic centre.
With this new route Belgrade-Ohrid-Belgrade, the charter flights from Tel Aviv, the new charter flight Brussels-Ohrid, which will soon start from St. Paul the Apostle, as well as the regular summer charter flights from Amsterdam and three regular flights to London, Basel and Zurich, the airport operator expects revival of St. Paul the Apostle, and increased traffic will contribute for more tourists to visit Ohrid, but also many citizens of Ohrid-Struga region and the wider area of southwestern Macedonia to fly abroad.
Ohrid Airport St. Paul the Apostle last month by ACI Europe (Airports Council International - Europe) was named the second fastest growing small airport in Europe in the first quarter of 2016, with an increase in the number of passengers of 173.9% in the first quarter of 2016.
TAV Macedonia ended 2015 with 22% increase in the total number of passengers at the two Macedonian airports - Alexander the Great – Skopje and St. Paul the Apostle- Ohrid, reaching 1.560.381 passengers. At the same time, the total number of operations increased for 11%, reaching 15.510.
The trend of increased traffic continues this year. In the first five months of 2016 through two Macedonian airports were transported 648.745 passengers, which is an increase of 28% compared to the same period in 2015. At the same time, the number of operations (landings and take-offs) at the two airports increased by 16%.