The EBRD is lending €21mn to Tirana Airport Partners, a consortium led by Germany’s Hochtief AirPort, concessionaire of the Mother Teresa International Airport, to modernise the airport. The project includes construction of a new passenger terminal, cargo centre, other ancillary facilities and a new access road.
The EBRD’s financing package includes a €12mn loan for the modernisation of the airport and a €9mn sovereign-guaranteed loan for construction of a new access road from the capital to the airport and improvements in the existing access road towards the south of the country. An additional €12.9mn loan will be provided by DEG, Alpha Bank Tirana branch, and the American Bank of Albania.
In 2003 the government of Albania launched an international tender for a 20-year concession to run Tirana Airport, which was built in 1957 and has seen limited investment since. The steady increase in passenger traffic in recent years and the airport’s role as the country’s most important traffic hub have made its modernisation imperative.
Tirana Airport Partners was selected as preferred bidder and will oversee the modernisation programme and manage the airport, while the government of Albania retains ultimate ownership.
Riccardo Puliti, EBRD director for transport, says the project will be of the utmost importance for Albania’s economic development. Its innovative structure makes it a showcase for private-sector investment in medium-sized airport operations in the region, as well as a model which could be replicated elsewhere in southeastern Europe.