Albanian LCC Belle Air focuses on Italian routes and link to Pristina

Image: Pristina route launch speech by Andrea Gebbeken
Belle Air’s most frequent route is to Pristina, which is served 10 times per week. “The possibility for a passenger to find a daily service to Pristina through TIA puts us right into the middle of the important social, commercial and trade developments taking place in these two countries,” said Andrea Gebbeken, CEO, TIA.

It may come as a surprise that even Albania (population 3.6 million) has its own home-grown low-cost carrier which started operations back in 2006. Its fleet is a diverse mix of aircraft including one ATR 42, one MD-82, one Fokker 100 and two variants of BAe 146s. Last summer an A320 was leased from clickair.

Image: Belle Air Plane
Two of Belle Air’s various aircraft types can be seen here at Tirana Airport. The airline’s Fokker 100 is in front of one of the BAe 146s. Belle Air has around 40% of capacity at Tirana Airport and flies to 17 Italian destinations.
(Source: Airliners.net – Denis Roschlau)

Serves 17 airports in Italy

The airline’s network focus is on Italy where it serves 17 destinations. The most recent additions to the network were Perugia and Rimini which were both added last summer. Another route to Zagreb in Croatia was also started but quickly abandoned. However, the route with the highest frequency is Pristina in neighbouring Kosovo which is served ten times per week.

Frequency per week Destination
10 Pristina
5 Verona
4 Bari, Milan Malpensa, Rome FCO, Venice Treviso
3 Florence, Forli, Milan Bergamo, Parma, Pisa, Rimini
2 Ancona, Cuneo, Genoa, Pescara, Trieste
1 Perugia
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 16 February 2009

A new route to Bologna begins at the end of March and will be served thrice-weekly, in direct competition with Albanian Airlines. During the summer the airline also operates to Antalya, Sharm El-Sheikh and Tel Aviv. Apart from its hub operations in Tirana the airline also operates twice-weekly from Pristina to Liege in Belgium.

Image: Belle Air route launch
Belle Air launched Tirana-Zagreb services in November, however the route was quickly abandoned.

Leading carrier at Tirana Airport

According to OAG data, this winter Belle Air is responsible for almost 40% of scheduled seat capacity at Tirana Airport. The only other airlines with a greater than 10% share of the market are Albanian Airlines (14.4% from six routes) and Alitalia (12.3% from two routes). In 2007 Tirana Airport handled around 1.1 million passengers.

Image: Phase B of Tirana Airport
Work on Phase B of Tirana Airport’s modernisation is underway and will be complete in September. Central to this plan is expansion of the terminal.

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