Left to right: Rolf Castro-Vasquez, CEO of TIA, and Edmond Haxhinasto, minister of transport and infrastructure of Albania
The government of Albania has struck a deal with the operator of Tirana International Airport to break the monopoly over international flights in the country. The move allows the government to develop other airports throughout Albania, including Kukes International Airport in the northeast.
The government had originally built the exclusivity clause into Tirana’s concession agreement in 2005, but now wishes to develop international air transport links to provide passengers with lower cost airfares. The government also hopes that the move will generate more jobs in the industry starting with up to 300 positions at Kukes Airport.
A consortium led by German airport operator AviAlliance holds the concession for Tirana International and the new deal means that an extra two years will be added onto the 20-year agreement, taking the current tenancy to April 2027. Should the government decide to operate international flights from any other airport then an extra half a year will be added to the concession for every year of international flights.
Edmond Haxhinasto, the Albanian minister of transport and infrastructure, said, “This is a promise delivered by the Albanian government, which will enable the further development of this crucial sector to the economy. With the introduction of other airport operators we aim to benefit from the low-cost carriers entering our market, as well as inviting investors to develop not only the southern Albanian airports, but in parallel, the tourism infrastructure with resorts and more.”
Holger Linkweiler, chairman of the administrative council of TIA, the airport operator, said, “This is a landmark achievement. We are proud of what all the partners in this long process have been able to accomplish. We would like to thank the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship for their cooperation. We wish all the success to the Albanian government in further steps toward developing other airports in the country. Tirana International Airport is committed to continue providing high standard services to air transport in Albania.”