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Home > Company > History of the airport

History of the Airport

Rinas Airport, called today Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza, was constructed over a period of two years, from 1955 to 1957.


Until 1960, the airlines that operated into Albania were Aeroflot, Jat, Malev, Tarom and Interflug, with not more than two flights a day.


Over the period 1965 to 1974, improvements were made to the facilities at the airport.


In 1978, some airlines ceased operations to Albania due to the political isolation of the country following the severing of ties with the Soviet Union, resulting in a decrease in passenger numbers and flights.


Between 1980 and 1990, due to the technological developments in the field of civil aviation worldwide, Albania undertook improvements in its airport facilities in order to meet international requirements.


As a result of the political changes that took place in Eastern Europe in 1989 and 1990, contacts between the Albanian government and foreign countries began to improve.


Due to the political and social transformations that took place in Albania between 1992 and 2000, the number of airlines operating into Rinas increased and passenger numbers began to grow.


Facing the need for further development of the airport, the Council of Ministers decided to tender for international investors to construct a new terminal and other facilities, as well as run the operations, at the airport. The tender was closed at the end of 2003 and on April 23rd, 2005, Tirana International Airport SHPK (TIA, a consortium comprising HOCHTIEF AirPort, DEG Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft and the Albanian-American Enterprise Fund) started operations at the airport now known as Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza.


On 6 October 2016, China Everbright Limited (CEL, stock code: 165.HK), an international investment and asset management company based in Hong Kong, has acquired 100% of the shares in TIA.


CEL,established in 1997, is the international investment arm of the China Everbright Group, a diversified financial services company. CEL manages 33 private equity funds, holds more than USD 8.7 bn in assets under management.CEL has extensive experience in the aviation industry, and is the single largest shareholder of the Hong Kong-listed China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited (stock code: 1848.HK).


In 2005, TIA took over Rinas Airport when it handled about 600,000 passengers. Twelve years later, demonstrating significant growth, the Airport provides services to more than 1.9 million passengers annually and is now a modern gateway to the country, changing the image of Albania. Since 2005, more than EUR 70 million have been invested in developing and expanding the Airport. On 1 April 2016, the Government of Albania and TIA signed an amendment to the Concession Agreement of TIA and took a major step towards the development of air transport and the liberalisation of international flights in Albania. The Concession Period of TIA was immediately extended by two years, i.e. until April 2027, in exchange for the opening of Kukës Airport to international flights.