Belle Air expanding into Priština

Belle Air's Fokker 100 in front of one of the BAe 146s
The Albanian low-cost carrier, Belle Air, is continuing its expansion at Kosovo’s main airport Priština, the capital of the disputed Serbian province of Kosovo. Starting operations back in 2006 its fleet is a diverse mix of aircraft including one ATR42, one MD-82, one Fokker 100 and two BAe146s. Last summer an A320 was leased from the Spanish low cost carrier Clickair. Belle Air’s most frequent route is to Priština, which is served 10 times per week from the airline’s hub in Tirana, Albania. “The possibility for a passenger to find a daily service to Priština through Tirana puts us right into the middle of the important social, commercial and trade developments taking place in these two placed”, said Andrea Gebbeken, the CEO of Tirana Airport. The low cost Albanian carrier directly competes with the “Spirit of Albania” or better known as Albanian Airlines rather than its Qantas like slogan. However Belle Air has a complete monopoly on its services to Priština Airport without any competition and has more arrivals and departures from Tirana than Albanian Airlines.

The airline’s network focus is on Italy where it serves 17 destinations. The most recent additions to the network were Perugia and Rimini which were both added last summer. Another route to Zagreb in Croatia was also started but quickly abandoned. Only 2 EX-YU airlines operate to Priština – Croatia Airlines from Zagreb from 2008 and Adria Airways from Ljubljana. Serbia’s Jat Airways ceased flights to Priština in 1999 and has not returned since. Those traveliung to Priština by air are usually members of the small Kosovo-Albanian diaspora in Germany and Italy and soldiers stationed in the disputed region.