Following the joint agreement on the latter’s name, Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) have relaunched a passenger flight route between the two countries.

The first direct commercial flight from Athens International Airport to Skopje took off at 6:40 p.m. on Thursday evening. On board of the plane was the deputy Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bujar Osmanli.

“Greece will be our closest ally, and now I am heading to the airport as we re-establish an air connection that symbolises a new strategic partnership in the region,” Osmani said after meeting Greek Alternate Foreign Minister George Katrougalos.

Skppjan girl dressed traditionally holds a plate with cookies next to a plane operated by the Aegean Airlines after it arrived from Athens, Greece, landing at Skopje International Airport. Photo: AP/Boris Grdanoski

Aegean airlines had been operating flights on the Athens-Skopje route from 2003 until 2006 but stopped after FYROM changed its main airport’s name to ‘Skopje Alexander the Great’.

FYROM’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev changed the name of the airport in January to ‘International Airport Skopje’ and renamed a main highway as a token of good will.

Even though the agreed name ‘Republic of North Macedonia’ was not received well by the people of either country, Greece and FYROM leaders have agreed to jointly ratify the name.

As a result, after a 12-year cease, an one-hour and 15 minute commercial flight will again be connecting Athens with Skopje twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays.