Published on : 08 May 2017

A new Albanian airline

Press conference of Prime Minister Edi Rama and Chairman of the Turkish Airlines Executive Committee, İlker Aycı:

 

Prime Minister Edi Rama: Hello, and welcome!

This is a beautiful moment. I had the honour to host a friend and an extraordinary leader of a fantastic venture such as Turkish Airlines, Mr İlker Aycı. With Mr Aycı we discussed a project announced previously, for launching a new Albanian airline which has started to be designed thanks to the special support of President Erdoğan and the technical assistance from the Turkish Airlines team.

We are all aware of the fact that the quality of the air transport service provided to the Albanians moving abroad or returning to their homeland, but also to everybody else, leaves much to be desired. Of course, I’m not talking about the big companies operating in Albania, but I’m talking about the service provided to people in many ways, with a quality and a ticket cost that really leave much to be desired.

It has been our objective since the beginning, to work for launching an Albanian airline. I am very grateful both to the President of Turkey and to the Executive Director of Turkish Airlines, for giving us such a precious help. Actually, today we saw concretely that we are close to finalizing this project, and we are very hopeful that the first flights will begin in the span of this year.

I do not want to talk about deadlines today, but it is sure that with the help of our friends, which is not just technical assistance in the sense of preparing the project on paper, but it is a help that will extend to the entire spectrum of service as a very strong support to the new Albanian company, we will finally make reality an Albanian airline with our flag providing the same service quality provided by Turkish Airlines.

Of course, we cannot compare to either the size or the volume intensity of work of a superpower such as Turkish Airlines, but of course, in this micro world of ours, we will give the Albanians a new opportunity, and I am convinced that we will enter a new era even in this regard.

In thanking once again my friend and, today, our friend who came to Tirana despite the 1001 works and meetings of his global agenda, I am very pleased to give him the floor.

 

Chairman of the Turkish Airlines Executive Committee, İlker Aycı:  Dear Prime Minister of Albania, Mr Edi Rama!

Dear press representatives!

Dear Mr Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in Tirana!

Dear representatives of the Turkish Embassy in Tirana!

Dear Colleagues!

I greet you heartily. Today, I’m here in Tirana, a city with which we have old historical links. I thank the Prime Minister for the beautiful words. I would like to emphasize that he is a distinguished leader, but also a great visionary. We want to express that we are happy about the extraordinary words he said about us. We also bring from Turkey the best greetings to our Albanian brothers.

Our President, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Mr Edi Rama have had various talks, and one of the most discussed issues has been cooperation in the field of Civil Aviation in order to develop cooperation in this field, and under the strong leadership of the Prime Minister, along with his vision, Turkish Airlines will support the great achievements of Albania in these years.

Based on a joint decision reached by the Turkish President and the Albanian Prime Minister, we have rolled up the sleeves and are working to implement the decision they have taken jointly. We have made several visits to Albania with regard to this issue, and are preparing the project's feasibility.

We met today with the Albanian Prime Minister, shared ideas with him and listened to his visionary suggestions, and I would like to thank him for creating this opportunity. Thank you Mr Edi Rama!

I am sure that as soon as I return to Turkey, I will discuss together with my colleagues the ideas expressed here. As Mr Prime Minister said, we will increase the quality of service, both at the airport and in the aircraft. We will make significant changes in support of all travellers whichever their destination is.

We will do our best, with all the accumulated experience we have as a company, to share it with our Albanian friends and brothers. We are proceeding with great speed to take all the necessary steps for the realization of this project as soon as possible. Even our ambassador strongly supports us in this regard.

I think that the Turkish-Albanian friendship, the Turkish-Albanian brotherhood, will also be such in our cooperation in the field of Civil Aviation. Therefore, as Chairman of the Turkish Airlines Executive Committee, I am responsible for this, and we will provide the Albanian people services that will make them happy.

We are willing to give our maximum support in every direction, in every area.

I am very happy to be in Tirana, in the capital of my friend country. On behalf of my country, on behalf of all my colleagues, I greet you and greet the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Edi Rama: Many thanks for this enthusiastic expression of friendship, materialized step by step in the realization of this very ambitious project, which I am convinced that will successfully take its ultimate form in a short time. Meanwhile, it is in parallel with the other major project, the construction of the new Vlora regional airport. An airport that constitutes not only an objective but also a necessity for further economic development and for the further promotion of truism in Albania. Work continues, and even in this case, with the support of President Erdoğan and thanks to the already well-established consortium of the companies that are building the third Istanbul airport, we will soon be in the moment we do the same, and will publicly announce the expression of the will to bring the project to fruition.

Of course, these are projects that take their time, but I am very happy that both of them are projects that are going to be finalized from the conceptual point of view. With the start of the flights of an Albanian red-and-black airline, we will open a new era where Vlora airport will be an extraordinary added value.

Currently we have in Albania two low cost companies. Is there any point in the your program, Mr Rama, that will further empower low cost companies, as they bring increasingly more money and more tourists to our country? Is there an exact number of how many employees will there be following the new project you just launched?

Prime Minister Edi Rama: I believe that at a reasonable time, for a maximum of 90 days, we will present the whole picture of this ambition materialized in detail, how it will be, what it will initially do, how will it expand year after year, how many people will be employed, and what progressive employment growth of the new Albanian airline will be. Of course, I understand the impatience of people because many of these things we are doing should have been done years ago, but I assure you that we are working intensively in all directions, even in this project. Be convinced that the presence here of the Executive Director of Turkish Airlines is very significant, as Mr İlker is just as a government chairman who has a super-busy agenda and has to fly all over the world. But the importance of this project and the necessity set in front of him by the President and I, have brought him here and will bring him here again. I hope and believe to make the first flight within the year.

As for the rest, we are certainly well aware of all the barriers inherited from the past. Let us not forget that we have inherited a problematic concession contract, despite the renegotiations we have made for the Rinas Airport, and rightly so, Albanian passengers, but not only them, are often unhappy with the prices that come from this contract. This has made the launch of low cost companies more difficult than it should be for a country like Albania. On the other hand, I am convinced that with the new Vlora airport and the Saranda tourist airport, which is also in process, although it is a smaller project, we will have also in this area a normalization of the situation.

Mr Rama, we cannot avoid political questions, as long as the situation is unusual. At the parliamentary group meeting yesterday...

Prime Minister Edi Rama: Please, you have the right not to avoid political questions, but in this conference we are talking about the sky we want to reach, and cannot go underground and deal with the problems of the underground. Thank you very much!

Mr Aycı: Mr Prime Minister, I've had a leader to whom I've always given reports, but now I want to make happy two leaders. For the quality and the time Mr Prime Minister has required, and for our successful work, we will contribute to the maximum. Just as Mr Prime Minister said, we will meet soon here. We will do the utmost. I am convinced that we will not embarrass you.

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