Tirana, Albania | June 11 (Tirana Echo) – A new carrier called ‘Air Albania’ is expected to start flying by the end of this month towards top destinations in Europe and a scheduled transatlantic flight by the end of the year, offering a glimpse of hope for Albanian travelers.
The news is praised by many Albanian aviation enthusiasts who were deeply disappointed when Albania’s Civil Aviation Authority revoked the license of the former national carrier Albanian Airlines in 2011.
According to TV Klan, the new joint venture between an Albanian company and Turkish Airlines will offer low cost flights to top European destinations like Rome, Istanbul, London, Brussels, Athens, Milan, Munich and Barcelona while a direct transatlantic flight between Tirana and New York is scheduled to fly by the end of this year.
According to an undisclosed source for Tirana Echo, the new carrier aims to stand out in the region by being very aggressive in conquering the market in Albania and its vicinities. It is currently in the final phase of training all its personnel in Turkey and it has promised introducing a modern fleet of A320’s into the small Balkan country.
Plans for the new airline were unveiled by Albanian prime minister Edi Rama last November through a photo on Facebook of the plane and a simple status of “Coming Soon”, leaving many to elaborate on its details and suggest the project has the support of the Albanian and Turkish governments.
The announcement was accompanied by revelations that a new major airport is planned to be built in Vlora, which is now scheduled to be complete by 2020.
According to the Albanian government, Albcontrol and MDN Investment, a private Albanian investment group will hold the controlling 51% of shares while Turkish Airlines will own the rest.
Air Albania starts flying after Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air started flying into the country last year, promising to further liberalize the tight market in Albania, where ticket prices are typically higher than its neighboring countries.
The number of passengers flying to and from Albania has grown considerably over the past few years, largely thanks to a constant rise in tourist groups and increasing demand by Albanian nationals and their families.
More 2.5 million passengers passed through the country’s only international airport last year with higher numbers expected in 2018.
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