Cargo airport in Stip or upgrading Alexander the Great in Skopje?

The idea of a cargo airport in Stip has not been abandoned, but whether it will be built or not depends on the results of the site-inspection conducted by the Macedonian Meteorology Service, Dnevnik daily reports.

The cargo airport is to be built by the Turkish company TAV, which, by signing the concession agreement for the two airports in Skopje and Ohrid, obliged itself to construct a cargo airport. Under the agreement, the cargo airport should be completed by 2020. The TAV Holding CEO, Sani Sener, says the company is ready to start construction immediately after they receive the inspection results on air currents and wind directions.

"We hope that the Macedonian services will soon complete the inspections. If it proves that the selected location is suitable for building a cargo airport, we will build it there. If the results show the opposite, we will invest in something different, maybe in upgrading the Skopje airport terminal, because we are certain that this airport needs to be further expanded," Sener said.

The construction of the cargo airport has been delayed for several years because experts have not finished the meteorology study on the winds in the Stip and Sveti Nikole region. This study should show what would be the ideal and safest place to build an airport runway and whether the region is suitable for such an airport.

Waiting for the results, TAV is meeting its obligations deriving from the signed concession agreement. At the Skopje airport "Alexander the Great", the company built a new, bigger terminal building, a parking space and an administrative building. At the same time, TAV is reconstructing and modernizing the Ohrid airport "St. Paul the Apostle".

The TAV Holding president said the Turkish company has so far invested EUR 120 million in both airports in Macedonia. Under the concession agreement, the Stip airport should cost additional EUR 60 million.

"The annual income of both Macedonian airports amounts to around EUR 80 million. Compared to other airports in the world we operate, it is a very small amount. But, both airports in your country are very important to us because Macedonia is a growing market with great potential. I really believe in Macedonia’s future and that is why we have decided to invest here. Last year, there was an increase in the number of passengers by 18%. We achieved that thanks to the strong Government support, which is investing a great deal in this sector," Sener said.

He added that the company is content with their business in Macedonia and want to extend the concession agreement with the Government after it expires.

The number of Skopje and Ohrid airport passengers are encouraging this year. Data show that the number of passengers in April is 42% higher than the same month last year. Last year, both airports in Macedonia served over 1 million passengers, a number expected by TAV management to grow further this year, owing to the several new lines introduced by the airliners. 

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