Air Albania suspended by Albanian authorities after its business license was revoked, halting all its operations on September 9, 2022. For this reason, the airline grounded all its planes.

Air Albania’s Brief History   

Air Albania suspended. Air Albania Airbus A319
Air Albania Airbus A319|(C) Anna Zvereva

 The Airline is the country’s largest and flag-bearing Airline. It was founded in 2018 when it began operations in its central hub and headquarters at the Tirana International Airport Nene Tereza in Tirana, Albania. The Airline operates arranged air services for ten destinations around Europe for its customers. Air Albania is operated by a consortium between Albania and the Turkish government. The Airline is managed through a private-public partnership where Turkish Airlines controls 49.12%, and the rest 50.88% is publicly traded. Air Albania was granted a Third Country Operator (TCO) by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to operate flights between Albania and the European Union.

Air Albania suspended: What happened?

Albania had adjusted its business laws to curb money laundering such that beneficiaries of any enterprise or company had to be registered with respective agencies. Air Albania was accused of failing to disclose its shareholders as required by law in the nation. However, this was not the case with the Airline since it failed to follow the law. Therefore, Air Albania halted business operations after Albanian authorities suspended the Airline on September 1. Moreover, the suspension will be lifted if the Airline pays a fine.

Air Albania suspended
Air Albania’s aircraft (C) Isabella Mendes

The Law

Albanian authorities had directed companies under the law on the register of beneficial owners to declare and give the owners information until June 30, 2021. Failure to do this, the law states that a EUR 5,000 fine will be issued. However, this directive was extended to June 30, 2022, giving more time for the Airline to comply.

Ownership breakdown of Air Albania

Air Albania is owned jointly by Turkish Airlines and the Albanian government, as earlier stated. The government owns the Airline through Albcontrol sha managed by the Ministry of Finance and Economy. Furthermore, it controls Albania’s airspace under regulations from international air navigation standards.

A private company named MDN investment was registered on May 7, 2018, nine days before it became a shareholder of the Airline by decree from the Albanian government. Sinan Idrizi owns the company, and the seed capital for the company was EUR 100,000.

Challenges faced

Sinan Idrizi faced several charges in a Turkish court, claiming he was involved in siphoning off $3.5 million related to the airline deal. However, he was acquitted late that year.

Air Albania faced some hiccups when acquiring its EASA authorization, giving it the green light to fly in the European Union. For this reason, the Airline opted to wet-lease aircraft from Turkish Airlines so that they could operate flights within the EU under the license of Turkish Airlines. Air Albania finally got its approval in May 2020.

The Airline had several latest issues when an investigation recently revealed that Air Albania submitted its 2018 balance sheet that showed no business activity. Also, the balance sheets for 2019 and 2020, respectively, have not been submitted. In addition, this is a violation of Albanian law since the deadline for submission has already passed. Moreover, this was a reason Albanian authorities suspended the Airline’s operating license.

Currently, the Airline has no flight in operation since all activities have been halted. Let’s wait and see what will happen to the Airline in the coming days. Will a lawsuit follow? Will the Airline comply with the law? When will they get back to operating? How long will the suspension last?

What do you think will be the fate of Air Albania after this? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you

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