Passengers will need to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before their flight, wear a protective mask at all times, maintain a physical distance and have a high degree of personal hygiene.

According to the Decision of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia from 23th June 2020, for reopening of Skopje International Airport and Ohrid St. Paul the Apostle Airport as of 1st July 2020 after its closure on 19th and 15th of March this year, TAV Macedonia informs the public that both airports will be reopened for passenger’ flights starting from next Wednesday, 1st July, with new rules for travel, that have been introduced in order to prevent spread of COVID-19.

“In the period after the closure of Skopje International Airport and Ohrid St. Paul the Apostle Airport, in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country, we intensively prepared for the reopening of the airports. We followed the experiences of other airports around the world to see what they are doing and to use best practices to provide airport services with appropriate hygiene and health care, so that passengers, staff and partners feel safe. We followed the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO), the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Airports Council (ACI) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), all in order to take appropriate measures in a timely manner. The most important thing for passengers is the following – to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before their flight, to put on a protective mask before entering the terminal building of the airport and keep it until their journey ends at the exit of terminal at the final destination, to disinfect hands at the entrance of the building and to maintain a constant physical distance,” states Alper Ersoy, TAV Macedonia General Manager.

As explained by TAV Macedonia for Skopje International Airport, at Departures, the only open entrance for passengers in the terminal building will be the entrance on “Departures C”. Each passenger will have to put on a protective mask, show their flight ticket (printed or on the phone) to our security staff and then go through a shoe disinfection path and then to disinfect his/her hands through contactless hand sanitizer dispenser, placed at the very entrance of the building.

“After the proper disinfection of shoes and hands, all passengers at the entrance of the terminal buildings of both airports will be tested for body temperature, through the thermal cameras that we as an airport operator have procured, in order to prevent entrance of the virus in the airport buildings, for the passengers that are on the way of leaving the state. After they’re scanned with the thermal camera, if they do not have higher body temperature, passengers will be able to proceed to the registration or self-registration counters. What is important for the whole public is to know that only those who travel (have flight tickets) can enter the airport building, not their families and friends who are greeting or meeting them,” explains Ersoy.

According to TAV Macedonia, information signs in the form of banners, stickers and billboards are placed everywhere at the airports, in order to remind passengers to keep a physical distance, maintain a high degree of personal hygiene and avoid touching surfaces.

“It is not allowed to sit next to each other on the seats in the airport waiting areas, Departures, Arrivals and Gates, but passengers will have to sit at the appropriate physical distance, and for that purpose the seats are specially marked,” explained by TAV Macedonia.

In order to make passengers feel safe, TAV Macedonia has intensified the cleaning and disinfection of all areas of the airports, while the ventilation in the terminal building has also been increased, with the air conditioning system using F9 nano-chemical film-coated filters. Additionally, through the whole terminal building, hand sanitizers are placed.

“Since the first case of COVID-19 in the country, we have started to clean and disinfect more often, more intensively than usual. Especially at the places that are the most susceptible to touch. For example, registration counters, doors and escalator handles, screens, elevator buttons, self-registration and luggage checkpoints, luggage trolleys and all other items identified as commonly touched surfaces, are disinfected 4 times a day. Before the reopening of the airport, we have integrated all this in our new internal rules, which accurately prescribe the method of disinfection and the appropriate means for that purpose,” explains Ersoy.

Considering the new travel rules imposed by the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, some of the airport procedures will be slower, says TAV Macedonia General Manager.

In order to avoid unnecessary crowds at registration counters, TAV Macedonia encourages travelers to use the on line check-in option for Skopje Airport, at least 24 hours before departure time. It is available through the airport website, where through special icons each passenger can access the online registration section of the airlines’ websites.

TAV Macedonia emphasizes that in terms of security check, passengers will need to follow the instructions of security agents in a disciplined manner, and there, as in all procedures where queues are expected, it will be necessary to keep the prescribed physical distance for closed areas. All surfaces that come in contact with passengers, at this point, are also disinfected frequently, while the plastic baskets in which passengers place their luggage will be disinfected after the usage.

When exiting the airport building, before entering the corridor, the passenger bridge and then on the airplane, the passengers will have to disinfect their hands, for which TAV Macedonia has set up hands disinfectant dispensaries.

“We appeal to the passengers to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before the departure time, because at least 1 hour before the departure time they should already be in the boarding zone, i.e. at the Gates. By respecting the enhanced sanitary measures that we have introduced and maintaining physical distance, primarily by us as airport staff and then by our passengers, we will jointly protect ourselves from Coronavirus. Health is the most important thing for all of us. We look forward to serving our passengers again, uniting them with their families and friends, and enabling them to discover new destinations,” states Ersoy.

Regarding the flight schedule, which depends not only on the Government’s decision for reopening of the airport, but also on the decisions of the airlines, as well as the countries to which destinations airlines flew from Skopje International Airport and Ohrid St. Paul the Apostle Airport, before the Coronavirus crisis, TAV Macedonia instructs all passengers to follow both airports’ websites, where the latest flight schedules will be published.

“Since the information about the flights are changing very quickly, we as an airport operator update it as we receive it from the airlines, therefore we appeal to all passengers to follow our websites and where the changes in the flight schedule are updated in real time, explains TAV Macedonia.

Skopje International Airport was closed for passenger flights from March 19th 2020, while Ohrid St. Paul the Apostle Airport from March 15th, with Government Decisions, in order to prevent entry and spread of Coronavirus. In the past 3,5 months, there have been only humanitarian, government, sanitary, medical and military flights at the capital’s airport.

As a result of the stopped operations, the air traffic at Skopje International Airport and Ohrid St. Paul the Apostle Airport, which in the past 10 years has been developing steadily and breaking records in the passengers’ number, in the first five months of 2020 suffered a serious blow. TAV Macedonia, from January until June recorded a 53% decrease in the number of passengers and a 47% decrease in the number of flights, compared to the same period in 2019.

Source: MIA