Thursday, 14 December 2017 | News today: 14

Ersoy: We are actively working on introducing new destinations

The modernization of the Skopje Airport has placed it on the map of many airlines. What novelties did you introduce?

Ersoy: We took over the operations at both airports as of March 2010. Within one year we have completed the construction and modernization works at Ohrid Airport, where we have increased the capacity of terminal building with additional check-in counters, passport boots, re-design the waiting lounges, new baggage handling system. Additionally we have renovated the existing car park and constructed a new car park, renovated the upper surface of the apron, renovated the admin building and cargo hangar. Plus, a hangar for general aviation aircraft and VIP building were constructed.

Within 18 months the construction works at Skopje Airport has been completed. Within the scope of works we have constructed a modern terminal building with 23 check-in desk, 24 passport cabin boots, 6 Passenger boarding bridges, 5 bus gates (total 11 gates), IT, mechanical and electrical  systems etc. and car park with the capacity of 1206 vehicle.

We have extended the runway 500 meters, an admin building, firefighting building and cargo hangar with 40.000 tons / year capacity (has capability to handle all type of goods) have been constructed. And the military premises are relocated out of airport perimeter fence.

How many new airlines have come since you took over the airports in Skopje and Ohrid?

Ersoy: Pegasus, Wizz Air, Flydubai, Corendon, Jetairfly, Alitalia, Germania, TUI Arkefly

There were 15-19 destinations, now 27 direct destinations.

Statistical data show that the number of passengers has increased. What has caused such trend, the new airlines, the new facility or the improved services?

Ersoy: Each of them has positive impact:

–  A new and modern airport with sufficient capacity and facilities

–  Marketing Studies. We are constantly attending international aviation and tourism conferences and fairs in order to promote the airports and Macedonia.

–  Incentives given by us and subsidies provided by government for both tourism and aviation.

–  Having more new destinations, better prices and an increased catchment area

What novelties can the airport offer in terms of new routes and destinations?

Ersoy: As of April 4 new destinations which are Paris, Frankfurt, Cologne and Brussels are introduced by Wizz Air. As of May Alitalia will start to fly from Rome to Skopje. Our marketing team is working hard to attract new air carriers and encourage the existing one to increase their frequencies or introduce new routes. But it takes some time to finalize the negotiations and convince the airlines.

How and to what extent do the airports boost economic activities in a certain country?

Ersoy: Unlike other sectors, aviation stimulates many sectors in chain:

  •  Direct sectors: airlines, airports, aviation and aerospace equipment and services
  • Indirect sectors: suppliers, equipment manufacturers, business services
  • Induced sectors: goods and service providers to the indirect sectors
  •  Catalyst sectors: hotels, restaurants, taxis, entertainment, etc.

Stimulates trade:

  • aviation gives companies fast, efficient access to markets and stimulates international trade
  • guarantee of shorter, predictable journey times
  • 35% of the global value of trade in manufactured goods ($3.5 trillion) is transported by air
  • global air freight has increased by 65% in 10 years.

Creates jobs:

  • aviation, its supply chain, additional industries and the spending of employees in these businesses support more than 33 million jobs and $1.5 trillion of GDP worldwide
  • 13,2 new jobs per 1000 additional passengers
  • for each 100 direct jobs in aviation, 480 jobs in associated industries are created
  • Single European Aviation Market created 1,4 million additional jobs between 1995-2004

 

Alper-Ersoj-TAV-int86-2

To what extent are you satisfied with the cooperation with Macedonian authorities and to what extent have they facilitated your investment work here?

Ersoy: The cooperative approach of the Government of Republic of Macedonia, which is very essential for the foreign investors, starting from the Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministry of Transport and Communication, CAA, M-NAV (Macedonian Navigation Service Provider), Ministry of Internal Affairs, and other governmental institutions are essential and encourage us to do business here. We are thankful to all the governmental institutions since they helped us to facilitate the processes and find the solutions within the existing laws and regulations whenever we had issues.

How many Government’s subsidies for cheaper flights have served their purpose?

Ersoy: Governments are responsible to facilitate the life of their citizens and generate revenues to realize new investments and increase the prosperity of their citizens’ life. The Macedonian government, by subsidizing the aviation, enables its citizens to travel many new destinations with very affordable prices. Plus, this attracts more tourists to visit the country. Each tourist spends money in the country hence the hotels, restaurants, suppliers etc. earn money and pay tax to the government. Indeed it is a chain.

What is your opinion on this country and its economic perspectives?

Ersoy: The country has a stable economic and legal position for a long time, which is an important indicator for the foreign investors, plus the tax advantage offer by the Macedonian government is another key factor affecting the decision of the investors. Due to its geographical position, having high skilled young people and stable and reasonable strategies make us to be optimistic for its future.

You have invested in this airport during the worst economic crisis. How did you manage to do that?

Ersoy: We started this business back in 2000, it was our first year. In 1999 Turkey was struck by a very strong earthquake, there were almost 40.000 casualties and this earthquake affected our first year, 2000. Nobody would come to Turkey, everybody was afraid. In 2001, Turkey had a local economic crisis, some of the banks went bankrupt, and 9/11 happened in New York City, an international terrorist attack, in which aircraft was used as a weapon. It directly affected the entire aviation industry. The total number of our passengers plummeted down. Then there was the war in Afghanistan, followed by the war in Iraq, and those countries surround Turkey, after that we had SARS, avian influenza, ash clouds, and after that, as we also operate in Tunisia, there was the Arabic spring in Tunisia. We experienced all sorts of external shocks, economic, earthquakes, wars, avian flu, diseases, but still we managed to attain 14% growth at all airports in the period between 2000 and 2013. Why? Because globalization made the world fly. The world is flying, everybody has to fly and all goods must travel, only due to globalization. It is true that we had a drop in passenger numbers, but we always managed to get back up very quickly. This is a resilient business, we faced all sorts of crises, but we are resilient. We are like the bamboo tree, we bend but we do not break and we get back up immediately.

Our experience and knowhow to manage the crisis in the last decade plus our belief in the country and our high credibility due to trustworthy project realized in different countries enabled us to manage whole process even during the worst economic crisis.

What are your future plans on the airport, modernization and air traffic?

Ersoy: We have completed our investment. Since then we focus to improve and develop the air traffic in Republic of Macedonia. And we believe in the future of Macedonia. In the upcoming period, we expect the passenger numbers to continue to grow and for the airlines to increase their frequencies with each new seasonal flight schedule. We will continue to attract new airlines and convince them to introduce new destinations, together with the national authorities. And in time, we expect this airport to turn into a regional hub. We have already set the quality standard for the region, and we will keep improving our services.

You have won the “Best Airport in Europe with Fewer than 2-million Passengers per Year” Award two years in a row now. How did you achieve that?

Ersoy: We have constructed a state-of-the-art terminal building and we have lifted up our service quality to a higher and better level, thus earning the prestigious ASQ – Airport service quality award for two years in a row by Airports Council International. Now we need to maintain this level of service and continue to have satisfied passengers, as customer satisfaction is the core of our focus. Moreover, we are constantly looking for new solutions to facilitate our services. For example we have introduced a shuttle bus between the airport and the city of Skopje. We are looking for opportunities to extend the bus lines. Our staff if continuously trained to handle passengers in the best possible manner, so that they are happy with their airport experience.

 

By: Aleksandrija Stevkovska and Goran Momiroski
Photo: Aleksandar Ivanovski