Gov’t Gives Out Kukës Airport Concession to Kastrati

In what has now become a common scheme to void proper public procurement procedures, the Rama government has given an 8% bonus to a consortium of Kastrati shpk an T.M.D. Systems Ltd in a public tender for the rehabilitation, operation, and transfer of the Kukës Airport.

During a meeting of the Council of Ministers on July 11, the government approved the bonus after it had received an “unrequested proposal” of the consortium to rehabilitate the airport. This will mean the consortium will win the tender procedure for precisely this project.

The airport, which is officially called Kukës International Airport Shaikh Zayed was personally funded by Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, one of the founders of the United Arab Emirates. The airport was completed in 2006, but remained inoperative due to the government contract with Tirana International Airport, which had been granted a monopoly in 2004.

In 2016, the Albanian government renegotiated the monopoly of TIA under unclear conditions.

In April 2018, Prime Minister Edi Rama promised that the airport would be operational in fall 2018. A short time later, Kastrati and T.M.D. Systems provided their “unrequested proposal.”

Kastrati shpk is also the concession holder of the highway that connects Kukës Airport with Kosovo and the rest of Albania, the Rruga e Kombit highway. The company, owned by one of Albania’s richest oligarchs, also recently ventured into the construction business with DownTown Albania, built in Tirana across the Namazgja Mosque, designed by Dutch architecture firm MVRDV.

T.M.D. Systems Ltd is a company based in Israel offering aviation consultancy.