Air Albania is launching a number of European services this month, including weekly flights between Tirana and London Stansted airport.
The Albanian flag carrier, founded in 2018, is 49 per cent owned by Turkish Airlines. It only received its Third Country Operator (TCO) certificate from the European Union Aviation Safety Administration in May of this year.
Prior to this the airline operated European services to Rome, Milan and Bologna, using aircraft leased from Turkish Airlines.
The granting of the TCO certificate means Air Albania can now operate its own flights into the EU, with routes to Bergamo, Pisa and Verona launching on July 13. After that, flights to Frankfurt will start on July 20, and Stansted on July 26, as the company announced.
Low-cost carrier Albawings already operates a seasonal service on the Tirana-Stansted route. British Airways serves the Albanian capital from Gatwick (although this service will temporarily operate from Heathrow when it resumes later this month). Wizz Air operates flights between London Luton and Tirana.
Easyjet had been due to launch flights between Gatwick and Tirana on May 1. But this route is now set to launch on July 24, due to Covid-19.
Tirana, with the country’s only operational airport, will be the European Youth Capital in 2022.
In March, April and May Air Albania operated repatriation flights from different destinations. At that time the government reached an agreement with several hotels in the coastal city of Durres. They became makeshift quarantine objects for the repatriated, who must stay there 14 days. The flight and hotel packages were sold by Air Albania.