Albanian army and police will take control over the country’s only international airport following Prime Minister Edi Rama’s accusations against President Ilir Meta of attempting to stage a coup d’etat.
It comes three weeks ahead of general election of April 25.
Minister of Infrastructure Belinda Balluku announced in a press conference that the government will send in the police and army to take control of the building. Air traffic controllers who have suspended their work due to their alleged “temporary inability to work” are inside the building.
“A gang has hijacked Albania’s air space today,” Balluku stated.
She said it is useless that air traffic controllers stay in the building, pretending they have not abandoned their workplace. She called on them to go back to work and open the way for vaccines to arrive in Albania.
Air traffic controllers have stated they are unable to work due to actions by the board of their agency – Albcontrol. They have refused to call their action a strike.
All flights to and from the airport were cancelled for 24 hours, until tomorrow at 10 a.m.
Prime Minister Edi Rama accused President Ilir Meta and opposition MP Sali Berisha of agitating air traffic controllers in an attempt to stop COVID-19 vaccines from arriving in the country and stage a coup against his government.
Berisha said Rama is attempting to cover financial abuses at Albcontrol, and Meta is expected to make a public statement soon.
A video posted by Minister of Defense Niko Peleshi showed army vehicles surrounding the airport. The minister said the army is on alert to guarantee the security of Albania’s air space.