By Fatjon Cuka and Dzihat Aliju
TIRANA (AA) – Albania’s first national airline company — a joint venture with Turkey’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines — launched its first flight from Tirana's Mother Teresa International Airport to Istanbul on Saturday.
Air Albania — which made its test flight from Istanbul to Tirana on Friday — returned to Istanbul carrying 80 Albanian students on board.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Turkey’s ambassador in Tirana Murat Ahmet Yoruk and Albanian ministers as well as officials from Turkish Airlines participated in a ceremony on Friday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Rama said: "It is a symbolic flight. There will be similar flights throughout the month."
On Wednesday, Turkish Airlines announced the establishment of the joint venture company.
In a statement sent to Turkey's Public Disclosure Platform (PDP), an electronic system through which electronically signed notifications required by capital markets and Borsa Istanbul regulations are publicly disclosed, Turkish Airlines said the new company will operate in the field of passenger and cargo transportation.
"The aforementioned company will be established with capital of up to $30 million," it said.
The flag carrier said stakes of 49 percent, 41 percent and 10 percent are being held respectively by Turkish Airlines, MDN Investment SHPK and Albcontrol, which manages Albania's airspace and air traffic, representing the government of Albania.