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Albania’s Air Travel Revolution
Vlora International Airport, an ambitious project near Akerni in the Vjosa-Narta Protected Landscape, is poised to redefine air travel and tourism in southern Albania. This article for AlbaniaVisit.com provides an in-depth look at the airport’s construction, features, and prospects to inform tourists and stakeholders about this significant development.
Introduction to Vlora International Airport
Vlora International Airport, 10 km north of Vlorë city, marks a significant stride in Albania’s infrastructure development. Initiated in 2021, the airport is designed to serve as a gateway to the south of Albania, potentially becoming the country’s main airport due to its strategic location and advanced features.
The Construction and Design
The construction of Vlora International Airport is a multi-faceted project involving the creation of a 20,000 square meter terminal, an operation tower, a fire brigade building, connecting roads, and comprehensive airport infrastructure. Notably, the airport is being constructed 2 meters below the water level, with innovative engineering solutions such as drainage channels to manage this. The runway stands 2.5 meters above sea level, ensuring safety and resilience against flooding. A significant innovation is the integration of solar panels across the airport, which will generate 5.2 MWH of renewable energy for its operations.
Located in the Vjosa-Narta Protected Landscape, the airport’s construction and operation are poised to be environmentally conscious. The use of solar panels is a testament to this commitment, promising a sustainable and eco-friendly approach to handling the energy needs of a modern international airport.
Expected Operations and Innovations
Vlora Airport’s first flight is scheduled for March 2025, with expectations of handling over 1 million passengers in its first year. This exceeds the initial contract’s prediction of 330 thousand passengers, indicating strong confidence in the airport’s future performance and its role in boosting tourism and economic growth in the region. Additionally, the airport will introduce innovative sectors like aircraft maintenance and an aviation academy, further cementing its status as a modern and comprehensive facility.
Economic and Strategic Significance
The airport represents one of Albania’s most crucial strategic investments for tourism and the economy. By facilitating easier access to the southern regions, it’s expected to stimulate local economies, attract international tourists, and serve as a pivotal point for economic development. The Swiss consortium’s involvement, with a 35-year concession to operate the airport, highlights the project’s international significance and the confidence in its success.
Preparing for the Future
The airport’s construction is progressing on schedule, with no delays in any critical points. The Deputy Prime Minister has emphasized the unique nature of this project in Europe, where new airport constructions are rare. With its advanced features, strategic location, and capacity, Vlora International Airport is set to become a crucial hub for the Balkans and a flagship project for Albania’s growing focus on improving its infrastructure and tourism offerings.
A Call to Tourists
As the Vlora International Airport nears completion, it represents a new travel hub and a symbol of Albania’s growth and its welcome to the world. Tourists can look forward to easier access to Albania’s stunning southern coast, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage. The airport’s development is a testament to Albania’s commitment to embracing the future and providing a world-class travel experience.
Vlora International Airport is more than just an infrastructure project; it’s a gateway to the beauty and potential of Albania. It promises tourists a smoother, more accessible journey to a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. As the airport progresses, it will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the future of travel and tourism in Albania and the broader Balkan region.