Last Friday, Prime Minister Edi Rama inaugurated the first flight of Air Albania, the new national airways operating from Rinas Airport, which he had launched under the “care” of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The event was quickly ridiculed on social media, when it became apparent that the airplane was operated by Turkish Airlines and flying under a TK flight number. The only thing different about the plane was the outside layer of paint; it was not owned in any way by Air Albania itself.
Air Albania, which was not registered at the central registration office (QKR) until the date of the inauguration, is owned for 49% by Turkish Airlines, 10% by AlbControl, which is owned by the Albanian government, and 41% by MND investment.
According to its QKR registration, Air Albania has a starting capital of 100,000 lekë, about €800. As such, it is already by far the smallest operational airline in the world, apparently without owning any airplanes on its own.
According to the Statutes of the company, art. 10(4), the “Parties agree to finance AIR ALBANIA on pro rata basis to their shareholding stake, in total USD 200.000 […] within 5 days from the Establishment Date for the settlement of operating costs of the Company.” This means that MDN Investment, an otherwise unknown company founded in May 2018 and run by Sinan Idrizi, which was handpicked by Prime Minister Rama and had a starting capital of 100,000 lekë (~€800), needs to come up with €82,000 very soon.
To make the financial scheme underlying Air Albania even more dubious, media outlet Reporter published the news that on September 12, Turkish Airlines filed at the stock market in Istanbul that Air Albania will have a capital up to $30 million. It is unclear, where the pro rata contribution of the Albanian partners in Air Albania to such a large (and necessary) capital will come from, and how the discrepancy between the Turkish Airlines filing and the Statutes can be explained.