Belle Air and Alitalia racing for airlines
11/11/2011 08:40

Belle Air and Alitalia racing for airlines
With Albanian Airlines having the license revoked, the air travel market changes. A strong battle is expected between the other companies for the remaining airlines.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Albania took unexpected measures towards Albanian Airlines, due to the lack of the financial guarantee. “Shqip” newspaper declared that these measures were also taken towards the “Belle Air” Company.

Although Bell Air has had only one airplane blocked, from 5 that they had in total, the harshest measure was taken towards the company led by Ali Evsen, currently in house arrest after giving a guarantee of 18 million EUR in Spain over money laundering charges.

This is what caused EU authorities to raise suspicions, because the guaranty placed by the company of the Turkish boss (3 million EUR), did not convince the Air Safety Committee, which decided yesterday to revoke the license until all criteria will be fulfilled for the three planes that hold the Albanian flag.

The measures were taken for four planes, one of which belongs to Belle Air, for not fulfilling technical conditions and three others belong to Albanian Airlines, for lacking the necessary financial guarantee.

The news was given yesterday by the Minister of Transports, Sokol Olldashi.

 Shqip newspaper says that the Minister was present in the Brussels’ meeting, accompanied by the Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Albania, Ervin Mazniku, and representatives from both companies.

Mazniku and the two companies where present when the decisions were taken, while Olldashi had arrived in Tirana for announcing the news, which is considered a surprise for the Albanian authorities.

The Company of the Turkish boss, Ali Evsen, will be suspended until all documentations for technical and financial conditions will be recovered, which could take 5 months. But Belle Air could put its lines to function by giving them to another company for a price.

Experts say that the Albanian Airlines might offer its lines to the company that will offer more money. The race might be between the Italian Company “Belle Air”, controlled by French managers, and Alitalia. Belle Air is the only company with Albanian ownership and chances are that Alitalia will win the race, for avoiding any monopoly.

The airline market with the neighboring country is under great pressure. Albanian Airlines made 6 flights a day, transporting 1000 passengers, profiting not less than 50.000 EUR daily.

It is safe to suspect that the Italians and the French, with the support of the Spanish, whose Prosecution is withholding the finances of Ali Evsen, might have played a key role for revoking the license through lobbing and for controlling the airlines that bring millions of EUR of net profit.

The suspects increase when it is known that the Evsen Company owned 18% of the market, and was prepared to create two new lines with Italy (Firenze and Rome), offering more competitive prices than the other companies.

The Albanian officials expressed their surprise for Brussels’ decision, while they declare that our country will not be affected by this suspension. The Civil Aviation Authority of Albania monitors the market and reports to the EU, when is needed for specific situations.

“This is a problem of the companies. As for the tickets booked earlier it is the company that will take in charge the compensation, by offering the service to other lines”, the Authority declared.