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Opinion / Editorial

Vlora Airport ends on December 31, 2024!

Vlora Airport ends on December 31, 2024!

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Belinda Balluku, announced these days that Vlora International Airport will physically finish construction on December 31, 2024. This is an important deadline that has been met. From January 2025 until March and April 2025, the Airport has the certification phase for its international flights. In the first year of its operation, which is exactly next year, Vlora Airport will have more passengers than was predicted in its feasibility study. This study talked about only 330 thousand passengers for the first year of activity, the year 2025. With the rate of growth of tourism in Albania and the records that Rinasi is breaking in the number of passengers and flight lines, with 250 planes that take off every day, it is certain that Vlora Airport will be able to host more than 1 million passengers by 2025. The airport will be covered with solar panels, taking measures to avoid problems with the reflections of the panels during the landing and takeoff of planes at the airport. The panels will produce 5.2 megawatts of renewable energy, which will all go to the airport's needs, significantly reducing its operating costs and port fees. The runway of Vlora International Airport will be 3.2 km long, with a width of 60 meters. The airport is of category 4E, one of the highest categories in the Balkans, capable of handling transoceanic aircraft. For example, from the USA to Vlora and vice versa. The passenger reception and processing terminal will have a space of 20,000 square meters, enough to process 3 million passengers per year. With this high capacity already in the first year of operation, it is certain that both companies that fly at low cost, the company Wizz Air and the company Rayan Air, will operate, in addition to Rinas, also in Vlora. These companies go where there is high demand for flights. They both came to Rinas and their "duel" to attract as many passengers as possible on the lines they offer has made Rinas the airport with the cheapest travel tickets in the world today! It's hard to believe, but we don't say that. The well-known Italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera" asserts it, in its article-investigation dated May 24, 2024, entitled: "Low-cost tickets: the Rayan Air-Wizz Air challenge with discount strikes in Albania ( https:/ /www.corriere.it/economia/consumi/24_maggio_13/biglietti-low-cost-sfida-ryanair-wizz-air-a-colpi-di-sconti-in-albania-ma-l-obiettivo-e-il-sud -italia-4fb4f225-37b6-4a12-977f-dbbebf67cxlk.shtml). The presence of these low-cost airlines in Vlora is more secure and this guarantees affordable tickets and attractive offers at Vlora International Airport. The airport is located in Akarni, in a strategic air area, very convenient, which allows flights from all sides of the horizon. Akernia is located on a low coastal terrain, 2 meters below sea level. Therefore, a great engineering work has been done by the construction companies, with soil lifting, raising the runway and the airport above sea level. The runway for landing and taking off planes is being built 2.6 meters higher than sea level and the airport 4 meters higher, while the 6 km perimeter road (runway circle) is ready for asphalting today. All these works are completed within this summer. At the beginning of this year, the construction of the water supply network began. This network also ends within this summer. While in January 2025, the international certification of Vlora International Airport begins. In addition to the aircraft maintenance workshop, Vlora Airport will also have the Academy of Albanian Civil Aviation Pilots. By the end of this summer, the Airport will have its air traffic controllers internationally certified. For all those who worry that Rinas and Vlora are close and that the two airports can "xing" with each other, that both these airports have different characteristics. Rinas airport is the capital's airport. People prefer to land in the capital, e.g. businessmen, government officials, foreign delegations, tourists, but also immigrants who have bought houses in Tirana. Tirana has become over 1.5 million inhabitants, including Durres, Kruja and Elbasan. This amount of passengers will remain with Tirana and Rinas. Whereas Vlora International Airport will be cargo, it will be for tourist flights. There will be tourists who want to go near the sea and avoid the road by car or other means. The strong economic growth of the country and the extraordinary influx of tourists, which is expected to last at least ten years at these rates, need oxygen for both of these airports.