The new air corridors between Kosovo and Albania, opened on January 24, 2024 for commercial flights lower the travel cost for passengers, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, says.
He adds that this brings Kosovo closer to the normalization of its lower airspace.
“By shortening the trajectory of trips to and from Kosovo, the travel time is shortening by 8 to 12 minutes. The reduction in flight time translates into significant reductions in fuel consumption, thus minimizing carbon dioxide emissions,” says Kurti.
“Beyond the environmental and infrastructural benefits, the shortened flight time also brings benefits for our diaspora, increasing the opportunities for more affordable ticket prices and for new destinations to and from Pristina airport”.
New air corridors through Montenegro
The new air corridors were announced on December 28, 2023. The German Ambassador to Kosovo, Jorn Rohde, said that this comes after a 15-month teamwork with the authorities of Kosovo, Albania, but also with the help of the NATO mission in Kosovo, KFOR. He even called the opening of new corridors late, as this should have happened a few years ago.
Due to the longer flight path, the planes have spent more kerosene, polluting the environment. 2022 recorde 7.3 million additional kerosene used, with a cost of 3.3 million euros.
The efforts continue to open other air corridors with Montenegro.
Since the post-war period, in 1999, flights to and from the Pristina International Airport went through the air corridor Kosovo-North Macedonia. Albania and Kosovo signed the agreement in 2020.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Kosovo (CAA), which manages the country’s lower airspace, the agreement was on hold, due to some technical procedures that Albania and KFOR had to approve.
Unlike the lower airspace of Kosovo, which CAA is managing, the higher airspace – above 6,200 meters, open to commercial traffic since 2014 – is under the control of Hungary, namely HungaroControl. This is because Kosovo has not yet reached the capacity to manage the higher airspace.
In accordance with Resolution 1244 of the United Nations Security Council, but also with the current legislation in Kosovo, the KFOR commander is responsible for the security of Kosovo’s airspace since 1999.
There are two airports in Kosovo, in Prishtina – for commercial flights – and the defunct one in Gjakova – for military flights.