Construction of a third International airport for Albania to start in 2019

In April 2016, TIA the operating company of Tirana International Airport Nene Tereza, agreed to waive its exclusive right to handle international commercial flights to and from Albania. This means that Kukës Shaikh Zayed International airport could soon start offering services linking the northern Albania to destination in Europe.

Already several low cost airlines have expressed an interest in flying there.

This breakthrough in negotiations between the Albanian government and TIA also clears the way for international flights to other airports in Albaniat,

Direct flights between Frankfurt and Tirana from March 2016

Lufthansa has been operating in Albania for more than 20 years. It already links Albania to Germany with regular direct flights to Munich.

FromMarch 2016 however this will be replaced by daily direct flights between Tirana and Frankfurt.

A Short History of Tirana Airport

Tirana International Airport is situated near the village of Rinas 17km from the city of Tirana and 32km from the coastal city of Durrës. Today the airport is named after Mother Theresa (Nënë Tereza), the Albanian missionary who was canonised a saint in September 2016, and it serves almost 2 million passengers a year.

The airport was constructed over a period of two years from 1955 to 1957.Up until 1960the only airlines that flew there were airlines such as Aeroflot, Jat and Malev, and the airport served no more than two flights a day.

Hotel travel and tourism trends in Albaniat<

Albania has been described by some as “Europe’s last secret.” In 2011 Lonely Planet ranked Albania as the no 1 destination to visit the following year.

In 2013 Huffington post listed 10 reasons why tourists should travel to Albania and in 2014 the New York Times ranked Albania as number 4 among 52 recommended holiday destinations.

The following table give san idea of how the number of visitors to the country has evolved since the fallof communismin 1990.

Kukës: Gateway to the biggest river system in Albania

Kukës, the site of the soon-to-open second international airport of Albania, lies at the heart of the Drin river system.

This includes the Black and White Drin rivers, Lake Prespa and Lake Ohrid the largest lake by water volume in South-Eastern Europe,

TLake Shkoder the largest lake by surface area in South-Eastern Europe, the River Drin itself with its Koman and Fierzë reservoir lakes passing through spectacular mountain gorges.

Kukës, a new international airport for Albania

In April 2016 the government of Albania confirmed that the way is now clear for international flights to land and take-off from Kukës Shaikh Zayed international airport in the north of Albania.

This clears the way for the operation of low cost airlines. Several have already expressed interest in flying to Kukës. These include Ryan Air of Ireland and Wiz Air of Hungary. Both of these have visited the site and inspected the facilities. Adria Airways, the low cost Slovenian airline, has also expressed interest.

Ten years of Growth in Passenger Traffic at Tirana International Airport

Over the 10 year period from 2005 to 2015, Tirana International Airport Nënë Terezahas more than doubled the number of passengers served to almost 2 million passengers per year. Not bad for a country of only 2.9 Million people.

Over this period, year on year growth in passenger traffic exceeded 10% most years, achieving rates as high as 15%, 18% and 22% in 2011. Despite a set-back in 2012 when traffic decreased, it has quickly caught up to achieve more than 10% growth in 2015.