Air Albania announces Stansted, the fifth airline from Tirana to London
Air Albania will begin London Stansted on 26 July, becoming the carrier’s eighth destination from Tirana.
According to Air Albania’s website, the 1,882-kilometre service will operate once-weekly, although it appears that a second-weekly service may well exist – but just not yet available for sale.
Air Albania’s entrance will mean five airlines operate non-stop between the Albanian and UK capitals, with four London airports served.
|Routing||Start date||Weekly frequency||Direct competition (weekly frequency)*||Indirect competition (weekly frequency)*|
|Tirana – London Stansted||26 July||1 or 2||Albawings (4)**||British Airways: Heathrow (3)***; easyJet: Gatwick (3); Wizz Air: Luton (7)|
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser and each airline’s website. * Based on the same week as Air Albania begins. ** See below. *** Given coronavirus. It is unclear whether it will return to Gatwick.|
Albawings not currently operating
Albawings has operated a summer-seasonal Tirana – Stansted service since 2018. It was due to operate between June and October this year, OAG Schedules data shows, but it is temporarily unavailable for booking according to its website.
Is this the gap that Air Albania is exploiting?
Albawings operated four-weekly in mid-August 2018, thrice-weekly in mid-August 2019, and was scheduled to operate four-weekly in the same week this year. It is presumed that it will return next summer.
Tirana – London had 251,000 seats last year
Just over 251,000 seats were available between Tirana and London last year, up 39% YOY as a result of growth by British Airways and Wizz Air.
Tirana – London has been tumultuous. In 2010, British Airways served Gatwick and Albanian Airlines Stansted, with Belle Air joining the fray to Stansted the following year as Albanian Airlines exited.
After Belle Air’s end, British Airways was the sole operator for about four years, with Wizz Air starting in April 2018 and Albawings the following year.
Significantly, easyJet’s first flight from Gatwick to Tirana takes off later this month, on 29 July.
Strong SLFs, even for BA
UK CAA data shows that British Airways had a 91% seat load factor between Gatwick and Tirana last year, while Wizz Air had 95% to/from Luton.
Albawings’ Stansted achieved a very low SLF of 56%, although this was its first season. It was the result of 15,547 passengers and 27,540 seats.
Despite a range of non-stop airlines, an estimated 25,000 flew indirectly between the two cities last year, OAG Traffic Analyser indicates.