Air Albania, the country’s new national carrier which is set to launch next year with assistance from Turkish Airlines, plans to initially serve several cities in the former Yugoslavia. The Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, who has been personally involved in the airline’s set-up, noted that services will be established from Tirana to Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje and Zagreb. In the region, the Albanian capital is already linked with ten weekly flights to Ljubljana by Adria Airways and six weekly services to Belgrade by Air Serbia over the winter season. The city has proven successful for both airlines, providing them with high volumes of connecting traffic.
The Albanian Prime Minister, who was in Turkey this week to finalise details for the new carrier, noted, “It has been our objective to establish an Albanian carrier. I am very grateful to both the President of Turkey and the Executive Director of Turkish Airlines for providing us with such precious assistance. We are now close to finalising this project, and we are very hopeful that the first flights will begin soon. I do not want to talk about deadlines today, but, it is certain that with the help of our friends, which is not limited to technical assistance, but rather a broad spectrum of services, we will finally make an Albanian airline, that will provide the same quality of service as Turkish Airlines, a reality”. Mr Rama added, “The new airline will help strengthen regional connectivity with flights to Pristina, Skopje, Podgorica, Sarajevo and Zagreb, as well as points in western Europe”.
None of the cities in the former Yugoslavia that Air Albania plans to launch are currently linked with Tirana. Last year, Croatia Airlines outlined that the Albanian capital would become its base as part of an initiative to station aircraft throughout the region, however, the plans never materialised. Both Adria Airways and Air Serbia have provided connections from Tirana to the region over the past years. Apart from services between Ljubljana and the Albanian capital, Adria also offers nonstop flights from Tirana to Frankfurt and Munich.
It previously maintained operations to Brussels and Paris as well but the flights were later suspended. Adria is currently the third busiest airline in the country with a market share of 5%. On the other hand, the Tirana route has proved to be a solid feeder for Air Serbia’s flights to New York.