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Tender for Vlore Airport Cancelled Again Due to COVID-19

The tender for Vlora airport has been cancelled for the second time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minister of Infrastructure Belinda Balluku, during her speech at the Committee on Economy, said that the tender will be reopened again at the end of the year:

“We are working on the tender competition for Vlora airport but it has been blocked by the pandemic as the field of aviation is most affected. The competition will be reopened before the end of this year, so we will close the competition. “

Initially, in December 2019, the government opened the competition for the construction of Vlora Airport, where the deadline for submission of bids by companies was March 12, 2020.

The tender was then reopened in October 2020 but was cancelled again due to the pandemic.

History of the construction of Vlora airport

On October 10, 2017, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy announced the winner of the tender for conducting a feasibility study for Vlora Airport. The tender was won by Seed Consulting, with a bid of 98.6 per cent of the maximum budget made available.

Seed Consulting is owned by the owners of Atelier 4, an architectural studio that has been closely involved with Prime Minister Rama’s urban projects since he was Mayor of Tirana.

On January 17, 2018, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced that he had received an “official request” for the construction of an airport near Vlora from a Turkish consortium. The three companies in the consortium, Cengiz Construction, Kalyon Construction and Kolin Construction, have close ties to the regime of Turkish President Erdogan.

The request came before the study of the airport’s viability was published and after Prime Minister Rama’s visit to Turkey, during which he announced that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would “help” him with the establishment of an Albanian airline. According to Rama, work on the construction of the airport would begin in June 2018.

On April 11, 2019, the Turkish consortium withdrew from the concession for the development of Vlora Airport. The Ministry of Infrastructure announced that international competition will be held to select the new company:

“We officially confirm that there will be an international competition for Vlora International Airport as the interest is great from investors. And this process will meet all legal requirements and elements of transparency.”

On September 15, 2019, the Prime Minister officially announced that the Turkish consortium has left and the Prime Minister’s favourite studio, Archea has completed the new project.

“After protracted negotiations, but as an unsuccessful conclusion with the consortium that expressed interest in the realization of Vlora International Airport, we were directly engaged in making the project so as not to waste precious time.

Thanks to a voluminous work in collaboration with an international team of experts under the direction of the famous studio ARCHEA, we have in hand an ambitious project of the highest technical and architectural standards. “

On September 16, 2019, the Prime Minister presented the project in Vlora and said that he had not yet decided whether to build it with an international firm or with the money of the state budget.

“We are studying two options in parallel, either at the construction stage with a serious international company or we will build it ourselves, with the infrastructure budget and then we will select the international operator. Because we have no more time to lose and IN THE SPRING we want to open the construction site. “

He said that the runway of Vlora airport will be bigger than that of Tirana and that the area will be turned into an economic centre:

“Vlora will have a 3.2 km runway when Tirana is smaller. It will also enable the transport of goods… There will be a third function, for the maintenance and repair of aircraft. These make Vlora airport an economic centre, as the contribution to the economy will be very significant. “

The Prime Minister announced that the government will also build a new airport in Saranda.

“We have started the construction of Kukës airport. At the same time, we are working for Saranda airport,” he said.

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