taichen
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Airlines In Communist Albania

Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:55 pm

I was just wondering : If I am right, Albania, unlike other European countries, did not have any State-owned airline or at least a "flagship" carrier during that period. I just remember that from time to time the name Albtransport popped out, but it seems it was just some sort of Government agency for aviation matters that perhaps dealt with tourists as well, but as far as I know there was no single airline under the Albanian communist regime. Any insight on this ? What was Albtransport exactly ? (its role and future plans, if any)
 
airevents
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RE: Airlines In Communist Albania

Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:17 pm

If my memory serves me right there must have been some Antonov 2s operated under the Albtransport "brand". Would have been damn exciting to visit Albania back in those days...
 
eielef
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:40 am

I was yesterday in Albania thinking exactly about the same thing. No official airline? Who dared to fly to Albania in the communist times? I bet Alitalia did. Never heard anything about SU flying there. Maybe JU? Maybe OA? Maybe TK or even ME?
It is a weird country, and the airport (Rinas) had a smaller terminal (well, smaller than the current one, which is already too small). So there was an airport. There were very limited options for Albanians to leave their homeland (legally), and not many tourists from abroad came on a regular bases... Now they don't even care to stamp your passports.
 
Blerg
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:23 am

I know JAT and Malev used to fly to Tirana. Not many airlines were allowed to.

I remember coming across a 1986 JU timetable and TIA was served three times per week with the DC-9.
 
kaitak
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:07 am

Albania had an odd relationship with most countries, even communist countries; the Hoxha government was hardline Stalinist. On top of that, the country was dirt poor; only elites got out and getting in was not easy, so there wasn't a lot to support any significant air services.

That said, I seem to recall that there was an Albanian carrier - presumably a division of the country's air force (much like Air Koryo is) which operated an IL-14.
 
eielef
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:15 am

As far as of soviet planes, they never were exported to Albania, at least the communist Albania. Albanian Airlines (LV/LBC) had a few Yak 40, Tu134 and one Tu154 for short periods in the mid 2000s, all leased from Bulgarian company Hemus Air, all flying with Bulgarian (LZ) registrations. Some years earlier, ADA Air Albania (ZY/ADE) had a fleet of Yak40, Yak 42 and Let 410, all registered in Bulgaria. It lived somewhere between 1995 and 2005. One of the planes (Yak 40, LZ-DOM msn 47-04) spent time in both airlines (over 12 years in Albania) and is now "exhibited" or "abandoned" status unknown, in Sofia Airport in Bulgaria.
Such a forgotten story in a secretive country...
 
YYZLGA
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:54 am

Since Albania sided with China after the Sino-Soviet split, Hoxha's Albania was one of China's closest allies. As a result, CAAC served Tirana via Tehran and Bucharest with a 707 in 1978. Here's the timetable: http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages ... a78-08.jpg
 
eielef
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:06 am

YYZLGA wrote:
Since Albania sided with China after the Sino-Soviet split, Hoxha's Albania was one of China's closest allies. As a result, CAAC served Tirana via Tehran and Bucharest with a 707 in 1978. Here's the timetable: http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages ... a78-08.jpg

That was an amazing route. I doubt it lived very long. Mao died in 1980, Hoxha died in 1985, and by then, relations with China were pretty dry.
 
Kilopond
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:47 am

Two more connections from http://www.timetableimages.com in summer 1974.

Tarom on Sundays on an Antonov-24 (not that crop duster):

Image

Interflug on Mondays on an Ilyushin-18:

Image
 
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:17 am

I recall an interview with the manager of Wales regarding the visit of their football team for an international fixture, 15/11/1995. I cannot exactly remember his words, but he was shocked at the poverty all around. He also mentioned that the Wales team aircraft performed a go-around because when they arrived at Tirana International Airport, there were cows grazing either side of the runway.

The only other nugget is this photo from 1978. Whilst it is a fine picture of the control tower, it shows nothing else. In fact the main item of interest is that beautiful round port-hole window. Anybody care to hazard a guess what aircraft type? I would volunteer Vickers Viscount, except their windows were oval?

Image
How about a Tarom An-24? Or an Il-18? Tricky to get a clean shot from either without catching a load of wing
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
eielef
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:20 pm

I listened today in a documentary that by 1975, there was not a single car in Albania... Just few buses and the worse network of railways in Europe, still operating today.. Interflug, Málev and TAROM (eventually as well as TABSO, JAT, LOT, Aeroflot) were operating there maybe on empty flights. It was a VERY isolated country....
Even the Albanian Air Force was a well kept secret, they feared a Yugoslav invasion.
 
khowaga
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:46 pm

eielef wrote:
I was yesterday in Albania thinking exactly about the same thing. No official airline? Who dared to fly to Albania in the communist times? I bet Alitalia did. Never heard anything about SU flying there. Maybe JU? Maybe OA? Maybe TK or even ME?
It is a weird country, and the airport (Rinas) had a smaller terminal (well, smaller than the current one, which is already too small). So there was an airport. There were very limited options for Albanians to leave their homeland (legally), and not many tourists from abroad came on a regular bases... Now they don't even care to stamp your passports.


In the 80s (at least), OA flew ATH-IOA-TIA once or twice weekly with an ATR.
 
JUANTRIPPEJR
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:59 pm

Air France flew CDG-TIA-ALY (Alexandria, Egypt) with a B737 (twice a week) for a while...but it didn't last long.
 
thomasphoto60
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:44 pm

eielef wrote:
YYZLGA wrote:
Mao died in 1980, Hoxha died in 1985, and by then, relations with China were pretty dry.

Actually, Mao died in 1976
"Show me the Braniffs"
 
RJNUT
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:14 pm

they were like the N Korea of Eastern Europe (W/O nukes) in the 70's
 
FlySSC
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:01 pm

eielef wrote:
I was yesterday in Albania thinking exactly about the same thing. No official airline? Who dared to fly to Albania in the communist times? I bet Alitalia did. Never heard anything about SU flying there. Maybe JU? Maybe OA? Maybe TK or even ME?
It is a weird country, and the airport (Rinas) had a smaller terminal (well, smaller than the current one, which is already too small). So there was an airport. There were very limited options for Albanians to leave their homeland (legally), and not many tourists from abroad came on a regular bases... Now they don't even care to stamp your passports.



Air France used to fly to Tirana back in the 80s.
The flight was operated by a Fokker 28 from TAT (AF’s regional operator at that time) twice a week.
 
eielef
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:12 pm

thomasphoto60 wrote:
eielef wrote:
YYZLGA wrote:
Mao died in 1980, Hoxha died in 1985, and by then, relations with China were pretty dry.

Actually, Mao died in 1976

You are right. It was Tito who died in 1980. Relations with him were pretty toxic...

I expected OA flying there, but AF surprises me. I mean, they fly to all of Africa, so Albania is "more of the same".
Robert Young Pelton once wrote: Albania is such a poor country that it wouldn't be weird than countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone or Niger made a Live Aid concert for the Albanian children.
Now, it has improved a lot. Still, aviationwise, it is very limited. OS, AZ and BA have presence there. So does JU.
 
AZa346
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:17 pm

There are Mistral Air and Ernest air as well
 
topbanana
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:00 pm

From two different Official Airline Guides from the 1980s:

EFFECTIVE JULY 1983:

TO TIRANA

JAT operated a DC-9-30 on a Belgrade-Tirana route each Tuesday.

Malev operated a TU-134 on a Budapest-Belgrade-Tirana route each Thursday.

Inteflug operated an IL-18 on a Berlin-Budapest-Tirana route every OTHER Monday.

Tarom operated a BAC One-Eleven on a Bucharest-Tirana-Rome route each Wednesday.

Olympic operated a 737 on an Athens-Ioannina-Tirana route each Tuesday.


EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1989:

TO TIRANA

JAT operated an ATR-42 on a Belgrade-Tirana route each Tuesday.

Interflug operared an IL-18 on a Berlin-Budapest-Tirana route every OTHER Monday.

Tarom operated an IL-18 on a Bucharest-Tirana-Rome route each Wednesday.

Malev operated a TU-134 on a Budapest-Tirana route each Thursday.

Olympic operated a 737 on an Athens-Ioannina-Tirana route each Tuesday.

Swissair operated a F-100 on a Zurich-Tirana route each Monday and Thursday.
Top Banana in the West. Yes.
 
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Melbourne
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Re: Airlines In Communist Albania

Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:41 am

eielef wrote:
I expected OA flying there, but AF surprises me. I mean, they fly to all of Africa, so Albania is "more of the same".
Robert Young Pelton once wrote: Albania is such a poor country that it wouldn't be weird than countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone or Niger made a Live Aid concert for the Albanian children.
Now, it has improved a lot. Still, aviationwise, it is very limited. OS, AZ and BA have presence there. So does JU.


Olympic has served Tirana for over 20 years if I recall correctly, During the 90s and early 2000s it was operating services to TIA from ATH via SKG and IOA as seperate operations using ATRs.

Currently the A3/OA operations see A320s and Q400s operating into TIA on a number of flights A3845, A3847 and over this summer will have A3971 & A3973.

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