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Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:27 am
by exaz
Hi, I have just spent some time in Albania and was surprised at the potential for tourism in such a beautiful and affordable little country.
The issue is it's difficult/expensive to get there.
There are (mostly) single dailies to the EU hubs, plus of course TK but hardly any LC traffic,which in my opinion is what is needed!
Any particular reasons l,like regulatory or other?
Thanks, faleminderit

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:30 am
by aldrigsomandre
Air Albania is about to launch. First aircraft just got painted at IST.
They should start service soon with two leased A319 aircraft.

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:13 am
by Melbourne
aldrigsomandre wrote:
Air Albania is about to launch. First aircraft just got painted at IST.
They should start service soon with two leased A319 aircraft.


Air Albania is a TK initiative itself. Tirana has many services to Italy service diaspora along with connections to regional hubs like Athens via Aegean Airlines, IST via Turkish Airlines also BEG via Air Serbia.

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:15 am
by A380MSN004
There's Transavia from Paris doing Seasonnal service to TIA.

But the potential in terms of immaculate beaches etc is at Vlore/Dhermi area which is ++2 hours drive from TIA.

Apparently they started building an Intl airport at Vlore, So they understood the potential of their beaches so far

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:03 am
by TIA
The problem with Tirana is the seasonality of the demand. The demand in the summer far outstrips the supply and you can fill a flight even with crazy prices and in the middle of the night. As an anecdotal example I just flew LGW-TIA on BA last night (got in at 2:40am local time) and there wasn't a single empty seat. I tried to upgrade but even business was full. In the winter on the other hand, prices come down significantly. Airlines could make a lot of money in the summer months by adding more flights, but then again that can be said for many airports.

Another drawback are the airport fees, which are significantly higher than surrounding aiports. As an example, I believe SKP has done a fantastic job so far giving incentives to W6 to open a slew of routes that would have never happened otherwise. While not a fan of subsidies in general, I do think that if done wisely they can be a win-win. Taxpayers might pay €40 (arbitrary amount of mine) of the ticket price of someone flying DTM-SKP but the economic benefit to Macedonia could be far greater than that amount. Not to mention the fact that a non-stop flight stimulates demand and a non-profitable flight could easily turn profitable given time to mature. The TIA administration and the Albanian government on the other hand stubbornly refuse to follow this simple path. Now the govt is coming up with a new airline. An easier and cheaper alternative would be to lower fees and to offer targeted subsidies to airlines willing to add flights.

Lack of frequency (other than to Italy which is extremely well covered) to major economic centers is also hurting business. Not that Albania is a big business market but limited connectivity adds to the challenge.

With that said, things are improving. In the first 7 months of the year, growth was 14.4%. If that continues, the total for 2018 will be 3m. It might not be a lot, but as a comparison, it's not that far behind ZAG, an airport that's able to attract intercontinental flights. The number of tourist charter flights in the summer has skyrocketed. This year there are flights from new destinations in Scandinavia and even 3 weekly to TLV.

The number of low-cost flights is also increasing. W6 introduced LTN 3 wk in April and now it's increasing it with the introduction of the winter schedule. It's also adding DTM. Norwegian this summer is flying 2 wk to OSL. Transavia started seasonal flights to AMS two years ago and now those flights are becoming year round (except for 1 month in Feb).

So things are looking up but it cannot be denied that other than from Italy, Albania is quite a pain to reach. I'm getting married in Albania in a week and some of our friends (albeit the less "important" ones) are not coming because of the travel cost and inconvenient times. And plenty others are going through the hassle of taking painful connecting flights because the non-stop options from their departure airports were fully booked months in advance.

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:15 am
by Blerg
TIA needs to wake up. TGD which is not that far away has been attracting lowcost carriers and both Ryanair and Wizz Air have been rather successful. Government in FYROM is planning on expanding OHD in the near future and I think the airport has a lot of potential, despite Wizz Air discontinuing OHD-LTN. Even PRN is getting a grip on reality by encouraging more Wizz Air expansion.

The geographical area covering Montenegro, Albania, FYROM as well as southern Serbia is not densly populated but it does have a lot of airports: TGD, TIA, OHD, PRN, SKP and INI.

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:24 pm
by Melbourne
Blerg wrote:
TIA needs to wake up. TGD which is not that far away has been attracting lowcost carriers and both Ryanair and Wizz Air have been rather successful. Government in FYROM is planning on expanding OHD in the near future and I think the airport has a lot of potential, despite Wizz Air discontinuing OHD-LTN. Even PRN is getting a grip on reality by encouraging more Wizz Air expansion.

The geographical area covering Montenegro, Albania, FYROM as well as southern Serbia is not densly populated but it does have a lot of airports: TGD, TIA, OHD, PRN, SKP and INI.


All the mentioned talk of Wizz air is basically over now days since the Government in Skopje will be pulling the life line on W6. You can't compare a country that had basically no international carrier and very limited air travel until the early 1990s to the other airports in the region. It is not fair.

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:10 pm
by davidjohnson6
It is perhaps worth mentioning that the airport infrastructure at Tirana is vastly superior to that in Ohrid. One can consider the quality and comfort of the terminal at Tirana to be (from a passenger viewpoint) at a level comparable to any airport of similiar size in somewhere like Germany or rich areas of Europe. One cannot make the same claim for Ohrid at all - it feels like an airport that is overcrowded, scruffy, cheap and in urgent need of major investment for upgrade.

The owner / operator of TIA will expect airlines (and ultimately passengers when buying tickets) to pay a premium for the better quality facilities

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:47 am
by TIA
Infrastructure at TIA might be superior to that of OHD, but is it superior to PRN or SKP? Probably not.
Don't get me wrong the TIA terminal is great, but it was also built with a capacity for roughly half the number of passengers that will fly through this year. Back in 2012 they announced an expansion but the number of passengers fell that year and and the plans were quietly shelved.

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:08 am
by Blerg
Melbourne wrote:
Blerg wrote:
TIA needs to wake up. TGD which is not that far away has been attracting lowcost carriers and both Ryanair and Wizz Air have been rather successful. Government in FYROM is planning on expanding OHD in the near future and I think the airport has a lot of potential, despite Wizz Air discontinuing OHD-LTN. Even PRN is getting a grip on reality by encouraging more Wizz Air expansion.

The geographical area covering Montenegro, Albania, FYROM as well as southern Serbia is not densly populated but it does have a lot of airports: TGD, TIA, OHD, PRN, SKP and INI.


All the mentioned talk of Wizz air is basically over now days since the Government in Skopje will be pulling the life line on W6. You can't compare a country that had basically no international carrier and very limited air travel until the early 1990s to the other airports in the region. It is not fair.


I wouldn't say Wizz Air's expansion in SKP is over because the government is no longer as friendly as it used to be. I think it's over because they have nowhere else to expand, there are only so many destinations you can serve with a high density A320 while relying exclusively on local demand.

Fair? 1990 was 28 years ago. That's more than enough time to get your act together.

As for OHD's infrastructure. Balkanites will always chose the cheaper option even if it means boading a flight in the middle of a field.

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:38 am
by Melbourne
Blerg wrote:
Melbourne wrote:
Blerg wrote:
TIA needs to wake up. TGD which is not that far away has been attracting lowcost carriers and both Ryanair and Wizz Air have been rather successful. Government in FYROM is planning on expanding OHD in the near future and I think the airport has a lot of potential, despite Wizz Air discontinuing OHD-LTN. Even PRN is getting a grip on reality by encouraging more Wizz Air expansion.

The geographical area covering Montenegro, Albania, FYROM as well as southern Serbia is not densly populated but it does have a lot of airports: TGD, TIA, OHD, PRN, SKP and INI.


All the mentioned talk of Wizz air is basically over now days since the Government in Skopje will be pulling the life line on W6. You can't compare a country that had basically no international carrier and very limited air travel until the early 1990s to the other airports in the region. It is not fair.


I wouldn't say Wizz Air's expansion in SKP is over because the government is no longer as friendly as it used to be. I think it's over because they have nowhere else to expand, there are only so many destinations you can serve with a high density A320 while relying exclusively on local demand.

Fair? 1990 was 28 years ago. That's more than enough time to get your act together.

As for OHD's infrastructure. Balkanites will always chose the cheaper option even if it means boading a flight in the middle of a field.


I beg to differ, it has taken Albania 26 years to get where it is now, it's not easy to come from a totally closed and more totalitarian than North Korea km many accounts as North Korea actually has an airline etc.

As for "Balkanites" I really do not see a Macedonian Slav traveling to Tirana it Pristina for a cheaper flight but for Albanians yes of course.

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:30 pm
by Blerg
Melbourne wrote:
Blerg wrote:
Melbourne wrote:

All the mentioned talk of Wizz air is basically over now days since the Government in Skopje will be pulling the life line on W6. You can't compare a country that had basically no international carrier and very limited air travel until the early 1990s to the other airports in the region. It is not fair.


I wouldn't say Wizz Air's expansion in SKP is over because the government is no longer as friendly as it used to be. I think it's over because they have nowhere else to expand, there are only so many destinations you can serve with a high density A320 while relying exclusively on local demand.

Fair? 1990 was 28 years ago. That's more than enough time to get your act together.

As for OHD's infrastructure. Balkanites will always chose the cheaper option even if it means boading a flight in the middle of a field.


I beg to differ, it has taken Albania 26 years to get where it is now, it's not easy to come from a totally closed and more totalitarian than North Korea km many accounts as North Korea actually has an airline etc.

As for "Balkanites" I really do not see a Macedonian Slav traveling to Tirana it Pristina for a cheaper flight but for Albanians yes of course.


Regardless, Albania had billions of foreing aid flowing in and it has been developing quite rapidly. The fact is that their aviation landscape might not be ideal but it's far from cataclysmic.

Balkanites move around to catch a flight. Albanians from the region are regular on flights from airports such as OHD, SKP or INI. Even JU operates charter flights from Switzerland to OHD on behalf of various Albanian tour operators. Like I said, no Balkanite will think twice if he has an opportunity to save money. Politics is one thing but personal spending another.

Maybe a Macedonian Slav won't be heading to INI, PRN or TIA but reality is that at the moment he doesn't need to as Wizz has them covered.

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:47 pm
by TIA
What billions of foreign aid? Please provide some details, not propaganda. Please keep your political biases to yourself in civ av.

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:16 pm
by AWACSooner
Blerg wrote:
TIA needs to wake up. TGD which is not that far away has been attracting lowcost carriers and both Ryanair and Wizz Air have been rather successful.

I'm sure they're really worried...considering it takes nearly 3 hours to drive from Podgorica to Tirana...and the roads are pretty bad (unless you're driving from Tirana to Kosovo).

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:07 am
by SCQ83
I find surprising that TIA despite not being such a large airport has all kind of odd airlines like AlbaWings or Ernest.

IMO the best way would be to pay some carrier like Wizzair to add more destinations in Western Europe that could double for VFR diaspora as well as sources of tourism. Northern Macedonia has been quite smart at it with W6.

AWACSooner wrote:
I'm sure they're really worried...considering it takes nearly 3 hours to drive from Podgorica to Tirana...and the roads are pretty bad (unless you're driving from Tirana to Kosovo).


I flew last year from TGD to CRL and my flight was definitely packed with Albanese people. It was easy to spot them particularly at the passport check in TGD where they were asked all kinds of documents... quite odd to see that in Europe. But then it reminds you that Albania is kind of the last border within Europe.

I have never been to Albania, but the border is actually not far from TGD itself. So I assume from people originally from Northern Albania, TGD and their Ryanair/Wizzair cheap flights are a great attraction and it is not much longer than driving to TIA.

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:19 am
by Blerg
TIA wrote:
What billions of foreign aid? Please provide some details, not propaganda. Please keep your political biases to yourself in civ av.


Over the past decade, US Aid alone gave $150.997.776 to Albania.
https://explorer.usaid.gov/cd/ALB?fisca ... bligations

The EU has set aside €649 million for the reform of certain sectors in the country.
https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enla ... albania_en

By clicking on the link you will see that in the period 2000-2008 total foreign aid reached €2.858 million.
http://open.data.al/en/lajme/lajm/id/32 ... nt-sectors

So once you add up all this, could you explain to me where is this political propaganda I am spreading? These are facts.

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:21 am
by Blerg
AWACSooner wrote:
Blerg wrote:
TIA needs to wake up. TGD which is not that far away has been attracting lowcost carriers and both Ryanair and Wizz Air have been rather successful.

I'm sure they're really worried...considering it takes nearly 3 hours to drive from Podgorica to Tirana...and the roads are pretty bad (unless you're driving from Tirana to Kosovo).


Why wouldn't they be? Both airports are sharing the same catchment area. TGD has lowered its fees and has attracted lowcost airlines- something TIA has not really managed to do.

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:02 am
by loveofflying
Having flown in to TIA and SKP and driven to OHD this year, I have come to the conclusion that the flights serve mainly the diaspora and local (i.e. originating in FYROM/Albania) travellers. Flying TSF-SKP-SXF, there were no Italian or foreign tourists on TSF-SKP, only Macedonians and Kosovans, and flying SKP-SXF there were two or three foreign tourists and maybe 10 Germans (perhaps even with connections). FCO-TIA one saw lots of Canadian and American passports, so basically VFR traffic, and TIA-VIE had mainly locals with a handful of foreign businesspeople (not tourists).

This to say that the 7-12 EUR per seat the FYROM government is paying goes primarily for Macedonian (and neighbouring countries') tickets, and serves actually to take money out of Macedonia (going on holiday in Venice, shopping, etc.). The flow is far from evened out... There were next to no tourists in our western-oriented hotels... and those that were there were on bus tours passing through.

On the other hand, there are charters from Poland and other European countries to Ohrid and Tirana, and for sure these bring in only tourists, though to be fair, usually Albanian and Macedonian holidays are priced among the cheapest. If the government wants to encourage foreign tourists, this seems like the way to do it, and not the W6 flights which serve only to make it easier for the local workforce to "escape" abroad. (Nothing wrong with that, but I don't think the government should support such talent flight). This is always evidenced in the routes, for example from SKP the four (soon to be three) Scandinavian routes, DTM, SXF.

Re: Albania (TIA), situation and prospects

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:02 pm
by AWACSooner
SCQ83 wrote:

I flew last year from TGD to CRL and my flight was definitely packed with Albanese people. It was easy to spot them particularly at the passport check in TGD where they were asked all kinds of documents... quite odd to see that in Europe. But then it reminds you that Albania is kind of the last border within Europe.

I have never been to Albania, but the border is actually not far from TGD itself. So I assume from people originally from Northern Albania, TGD and their Ryanair/Wizzair cheap flights are a great attraction and it is not much longer than driving to TIA.


I bet you most of those folks were from Shkoder area or maybe Lezhe...and you are spot on about the border controls.
I did the drive from Podgorica to Tirana nearly 3 years ago...3 hours to get 80 miles on some of the worst roads I've ever seen (and those were MAIN roads).