New low-cost flights to link Tirana to Budapest, Amsterdam

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 7, 2017 10:39

New low-cost flights to link Tirana to Budapest, Amsterdam

TIRANA, March 7 – Two new direct low-cost flights will connect Tirana to Budapest and Amsterdam in the next couple of months as Albania prepares for its new tourist season peaking in summer.

Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air is set to reactivate Tirana-Budapest direct flights next April after a five-year break following Malev’s bankruptcy.

“Wizz Air, the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, will start on 5th of April 2017 its first service connecting Tirana with Hungary’s capital, Budapest. The low-fare route will commence with two weekly frequencies, on Wednesdays and Sundays. Budapest, famous for its beautiful buildings, dazzling nightlife and amazing landscapes is a great destination for all Albanian tourists,” Albania’s sole international airport, TIA, said in a statement.

The new route is expected to boost both inbound and outbound tourism and establish an important link for trade and business between Hungary and Albania, says airport representatives.

Meanwhile, Dutch low-cost carrier Transavia, a subsidiary of Air France-KLM, will link Tirana to Amsterdam three times a week starting May 10.

Amsterdam is also among the top favorites for Albanian travellers while more and more Dutch tourists are discovering Albania.

Thanks to huge investment in the oil industry and most recently retail trade, the Netherlands has emerged as the second largest foreign investor in Albania.

Some 17 airlines connect Tirana to European destinations, mostly Italy where most passengers fly considering an estimated community of some 500,000 Albanian migrants in the neighbouring country across the Adriatic.

Poland’s state-run airline, LOT, has also expressed interest to launch direct flights with Tirana this year as Albania has emerged a top 10 destination for Poles.

A new Albanian-owned carrier, Albawings, has been serving six destinations to Italy since early 2016 being the only local-based airline following the bankruptcy of Belle Air in late 2013 when it had a market share of 50 percent.

The Tirana International Airport handled a record high of 2.13 million passengers in 2016, up 8.2 percent compared to 2015, and more than double compared to 2005 when a German-led consortium obtained a 20-year concession contract to upgrade and manage the country’s sole international airport.

The airport’s exclusive rights on international flights were lifted in 2016 through a 2-year extension to a concession contract now set to expire in 2027, paving the way for the construction and operation of new airports in a move to increase competition and reduce current ticket prices, estimated among the region’s highest.

In October 2016, the airport was taken over by a Chinese consortium led by China Everbright Limited acquiring a 100 percent stake for an undisclosed amount that is estimated at €82 million.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 7, 2017 10:39