Albania opened its second international airport in Kukes on Sunday. The arrival of the first passenger Air Albania flight marks the first flight in this new airport.
Arriving from London, UK, the passenger flight initially landed in Tirana International Airport (TIA). Therefore, it picked up Prime Minister Edi Rama to inaugurate the new international airport. It bears the name Kukes International Airport – Zayed, Flatrat e Veriut (North Wings).
The Kukes airport, with a total investment of $28.7m, is on a former refugee campsite, found 90 miles north-east of Albania’s capital.
It was the shelter site for the many Albanian refugees of the Kosovo War in 1999.
It has a single runway and three parking spots for aircraft.
“The airport will ‘open the gates’ to the economic development of the Kukes district,” Albania’s PM Edi Rama says.
Meanwhile, according to the Kukes airport CEO Altin Progonati, the common international flights travelling to and from the new airport will formally begin from 20 May.
“The airport is designed to operate as a ‘low cost’ airport and will offer travelers competitive prices,” he adds. Also, direct connections from Kukës will include the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Germany according to Minister of Infrastructure Belinda Balluku.
The construction of Kukes airport started in 2003. It is a donation from the United Arab Emirates. Since June 2016 it is under the administration of the Civil Aviation Authority.
Third airport of Vlora
In March, a consortium led by Switzerland-based Mabco Constructions, a subsidiary of Mabetex Group, secured $123.8m to build, operate and maintain the Vlora international airport.
Also, this is a 35-year concession contract. Two bidders had submitted their offers for the government tender; UK-based ALDE Corporation and the consortium of Albania-based Mabco Construction, as well as Turkish company YDA Group and Kosovo-based 2A Group.