Air Albania is launching a number of European services this month, including weekly flights between Tirana and London Stansted.

The Albanian flag carrier is 49 per cent owned by Turkish Airlines, and was founded in 2018, but only received its Third Country Operator (TCO) certificate from the European Union Aviation Safety Administration in May of this year.

Industry website reports that prior to this the airline has been offering European services to Rome, Milan and Bologna, using aircraft wet leased from Turkish Airlines.

The granting of the TCO certificate means Air Albania can now operate its own flights into the EU, with routes to Bergamo, Pisa and Verona launching on July 13, followed by Frankfurt on July 20, and Stansted on July 26.

Low-cost carrier Albawings already operates a seasonal service on the Tirana-Stansted route, while British Airways serves the Albanian capital from Gatwick (although this service will temporarily operate from Heathrow when it resumes later this month), and Wizz Air operates flights between London Luton and Tirana.

As Business Traveller reported in December last year, Easyjet had been due to launch flights between Gatwick and Tirana on May 1. This route was delayed due to Covid-19, but is now set to launch on July 24.

Tirana is located in central Albania, but only 40 miles from the Adriatic coast line. The city will be the European Youth Capital in 2022.