Adria, Air Serbia set for Albanian competition


Adria Airways and Air Serbia, which offer multiple weekly flights to Tirana and rely on a sizable number of transfer passengers from the Albanian capital are bracing for new competition as Air Albania, partly owned by Turkish Airlines, prepares to launch operations this summer. Adria Airways currently offers double daily flights between Ljubljana and Tirana, as well as nonstop services from the Albanian capital to Frankfurt and Munich. It is the country's third busiest airline and, at one point, also served Paris and Brussels from the city before suspending services. Despite plans in 2015 to base an aircraft in Tirana and launch more flights to Germany as well as Italy, which is Albania's busiest market, the planned operations never materialised. Adria noted, "For us, this a very important market, because we believe Adria has a very good reputation among consumers in the Balkans".

On the other hand, Air Serbia, which resumed operations to Tirana in 2014 with three weekly flights now runs nine weekly operations to the city. "The service to Tirana benefits the more than two million Albanian diaspora in Europe with increased travel options and connectivity over our Belgrade hub to their homeland. The route also further contributes to the growth of Albania's inbound tourism. The Belgrade - Tirana service offers excellent two-way connectivity through Air Serbia's Belgrade hub at Nikola Tesla Airport to seventeen business and leisure destinations across Europe, North America, the Balkans and the Mediterranean", Air Serbia said recently. The airline has seen significant feed from Albania onto its flagship New York service. However, it could soon be challenged with Air Albania targeting flights to the US for December 2018 with a leased Turkish Airlines Airbus A330 jet.


Air Albania is a joint project between Turkish Airlines two other investors, MDN Investment and Albkontroll, a public company under the auspices of the Albania’s Ministry of Finance and Economy. Turkish will hold a 49% stake, and the other investors will hold a 51% share. "We will be aggressive on the market", MDN Investment said last week. The Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, who has been personally involved in the airline's set-up, noted that Air Albania will also establish services from Tirana to Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje and Zagreb. "It has been our objective to establish an Albanian carrier. I am very grateful to both the President of Turkey and the Executive Director of Turkish Airlines for providing us with such precious assistance. We are now close to finalising this project. It is certain that with the help of our friends, which is not limited to technical assistance, but rather a broad spectrum of services, we will finally make an Albanian airline, that will provide the same quality of service as Turkish Airlines, a reality".

Comments

  1. Out of all the carriers in the Balkans I did not expect Turkish to start a joint venture in Albania. At least it puts to rest rumours they will buy Croatia Airlines.

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    1. It also ends any hopes and dreams of Turkish Airlines setting up an airline in Macedonia or again investing in a Bosnian airline.

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    2. You try to spread your influence anywhere when you can. I do not see why they would not be involved in starting company in Bosnia?

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    3. Macedonian people can dream on now that TK will help them to establish sort of airline there. This is how u work , you propose it and its done. Anyway , albanian passengers / diaspora will use their airline to fly to TK, I can feel / smell JU to decrease flights in future to TIA

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    4. because Rama and Erdogan are populists. This is a political project and we know how political projects end 'newwingsofEurope

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    5. The most loyal Ottoman supporters get an airline. Masala.

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    6. We r brothers
      Our s330 airbus will be no more older than 9 years old and all chairs in that planes seats will be replaces and plane will be repaint with air albania logo
      Air serbia a330 is 11 years old
      All air albania airplanes will ne betwen 4 to 9 years old.
      3 to 6 Airbus a320
      And 2 airbus a330-300

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  2. If this is serious and they launch flights it will impact Adria the most. They might have to close their base in TIA.

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    1. Adria does not have a base in Tirana. They use the plane from Pristina to oprate Munich and Frankfurt.

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    2. Like it says in the article, the former management planned to base a plane in TIA in 2015 but they were replaced and were unable to follow through with their plans.

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    3. It could also limit developments at Ohrid which is only 90km from Tirana.

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    4. But Ohrid is primarily catering to LCCs and charters.

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    5. Ohrid - Tirana is 135km, 2,5 hours driving time.

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    6. New highway when complete from elbasa to tirana
      It will connect ohrid and tirana under 1 hour and 35 min

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  3. Very interesting. The region is generally getting more competitive. So I'm not sure how Adria's concept of connecting the Balkans with the west will hold up.

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    1. It is obvious that in a wider LH plan Adria is treated as small version of Austrian.

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    2. this is obvious only to you

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  4. Would be interesting to know more about the Albanian market. Which is the busiest airline there now?

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    1. Not sure about which airline is the busiest but the top routes from TIA:

      #1 FCO 31 flights/week
      #2 MXP 22 flights/week
      #3 VIE 16 flights/week
      #4 IST 16 flights/week
      #5 VCE 15 flights/week
      #6 VRN 13 flights/week
      #7 FRA 11 flights/week
      #8 BEG 11 flights/week
      #9 BGY 11 flights/week
      #10 PSA 11 flights/week

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    2. ^ that list is missing LJU - 14 flights/week

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    3. Does LH fly to Tirana?

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    4. Yes. From Frankfurt. They started last year.

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    5. Very illustrative of the fact that Albanian high and upper middle class practically live half time in Italy (business ties, university, ...). Plus sizeable diaspora.

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    6. These are the busiest routes in 2017

      MXP, BGY - 390.735
      FCO - 323.322
      IST, SAW - 235.286
      VIE 174.363
      PSA 123.005
      VRN - 118.646
      BLQ - 116.158
      LGW, STN - 96.865
      FRA - 90.286
      ATH - 84.860

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    7. wow Italy completely dominates. Very different compared to markets in ex-Yu.

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    8. Athens is also interesting being in top 10 but completely understandable.

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    9. I am impressed they have main destinations such as FRA, LGW, FCO. Also legacies such as LH, BA, AZ, A3!

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    10. Anon 9:27, Albania has strong ties with Italy. There are loads of Albanians in Italy, they feel like Italy is their second country. They watch Italian TV and italian is very popular in Albania. Normally in every italian talent show there are a couple of albanian competitors. On the other hand, Slovenia and Croatia have prejudices on Italians. Kompleksi malih naroda.

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    11. Vaistinu malih.

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    12. What prejudices have they in Slovenia and Croatia on Italians Anon 1:35PM?

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  5. I never understood why Croatia Airlines isn't flying to Tirana. They could get so much connecting passengers. Instead now some Albanian airline will be flying. They chose cities where there are now flights from Tirana.

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    1. They used to fly to Tirana I think 15 yrs ago.

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    2. But I agree it's a missed opportunity.

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    3. It's also surprising that Montenegro Airlines has never flown to TIA.

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    4. Well, OU's network is rather limited so they would offer what everyone else is offering. They would need to be much cheaper than their competition and I don't know if they can afford to fight that battle at the moment.

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    5. OU has only 12 aircraft, and 38 routes, or is it 41 now. I can't possibly see how OU can service Tirana or any other city with so few aircraft.

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    6. Going after transfer passengers in poor and very price sensitive markets is not the best growth strategy.

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    7. Last anon is 100% correct. Air Serbia is the best example.

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    8. Air Serbia didn't expand to the markets that are not price-sensitive and/or penetrated by low-costs and that is their main failure, focussing on the Ex-Yu in the first place.

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    9. Exactly, they should have tried with Iran and some secondary Russian and Turkish cities.

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    10. That and niche markets within the EU:

      - London City airport
      - Geneva (Wtf?)
      - Nice
      - Venice (done)
      - Barcelona
      - Dublin
      - Sicily (Atr)

      In the East Astana not to be forgotten besides Caucasus states.

      Told and repeated a hundred of times including to Kondich in his face. We see where are now the airlines that implemented the same model.

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    11. @last anon
      Spot on! Sometimes it seems that there is more wisdom among us enthusiast than people from the industry

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  6. The new wings of Europe.

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  7. Hopefully TK does a better job at running this airline then they did with B&H Airlines.

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    1. TK failed because Bosnian government was not cooperative, not because TK had bad ideas for the Bosnian market.

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    2. It will be interesting to see how this new Turkish venture in the Balkans turns out.

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  8. This is nothing more and nothing less than a vanity project that has no future.

    The Albanian market is way too small, demand is limited and seasonality is a real issue as is the case with most ex-YU airports.

    I highly doubt long-haul flights will happen as in order to build a customer base you need stability and consistency. I highly doubt either TK or the Albanian government are ready to burn millions just to maintain year-round flights from Tirana to New York.

    My guess is that in the end we will have one or two aircraft that will fly to the biggest gasto centers. TK itself said that they are looking at regional jets and I have a feeling one of the first ones will be given to this business venture.

    That said, BEG-TIA sees quite a lot of local demand so flights are not exclusively filled with transfers as is, I suppose, the case with Adria.

    Yesterday Wizz Air officially opened its Vienna base and I have a feeling Tirana will be launched in the near future especially since it seems they are going after Austrian Airlines which I think is quite popular in Tirana.

    Another thing we need to consider is the potential expansion at Ohrid and Podgorica. Both airports have Albania within their catchment area and theyh seem to be working hard on attracting new airlines.

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    1. If they capture Albanian market and Kosovo market I think they could have success, especially on flights to New York.

      BTW Rama is trying to copy Vucic with this. He talks about this airline the same way VUcic talked about JU.

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    2. Well, even if they do capture some passengers from Kosovo and Metohija, will it be enough to sustain more than two weekly flights throughout the year?

      We all remember when airlines such as Skenderbeg operated flights. They lasted for three, four months maximum and that was it.

      There simply isn't enough demand. Look at Austrian Airlines and how much they are struggling to fill their New York flights. I think JFK is down to three weekly onboard the B763. Newark does better because of all the connecting possibilities.

      New York might be a massive market but it's one of the most competitive markets out there. Very few airlines have managed to survive there solely based on O&D demand.

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    3. People want to fly from the closest airport. If company's business plan and cost structure is reasonable they could have success. Local market is small but diaspora is sizeable. They already have a number of flights to Italy and it can only go up.
      New York sounds really funny, even more so than in Belgrade case. Seems that Vucic and Rama do have one more thing in common :)

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    4. The only difference being that JU has BEG which handles double the passengers and has a much larger and wealthier catchment area.
      Beyond Serbia, BEG attracts passengers from Western Romania where Timisoara is the second wealthiest region after Bucharest. On top of that it can also rely on southern Hungary which is sandwiched between BEG and BUD.

      TIA's catchment area includes Montenegro, southern Serbia and the area around lake Ohrid. How many people live in this area? Five million?

      On top of that these five million people have access to TGD, TIA, PRN and OHD. It's quite a competitive area for the number of potential passengers.

      To make things worse, the government in Skopje is determined to promote OHD and to attract more airlines to fly there. This will further complicate the situation in Tirana.

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    5. +100

      OHD needs to be smart now. Wizz Air to Vienna is great.

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    6. @nemjee

      By South Serbia you mean Kosovo? :)
      They are getting a new highway Pristina - Tirana so it will be very convenient to fly.

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    7. we all know that Wizz is waiting for the new MK tender to cash in ... Malmö,Memmingen,Dortmund and one or two North Italian cities (catering to our neighbours) are a given

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    8. form Ohrid

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    9. Anon 10.00

      Yup. Indeed.

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  9. How many passengers did Tirana handle last year?

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    1. 2,630,338

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    2. And so far this year growth has been at 10%.

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    3. Impressive. So they would be 3rd busiest in ex-YU? I am impressed that they are just 500.000 behind ZAG.

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    4. They would be fourth in ex-Yu. Behind Split.

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    5. If Dubrovnik does not go up. But there is one small issue, Tirana is not ex YU. :)

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  10. Why are they so interested in all these destinations in exYu? I can't see them making much money off these routes.

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    1. They are all unserved routes from TIA. With good transfer options maybe they could attract some passengers.

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    2. Albanians 1 milion in usa are crying for direct flight
      From may to september even u do 3 times a week flight will be super booked
      All albanian from Kosovo macedonia and albania will fly in direct flight
      When it comes under our flag carrier we will travel far and keep up our nation airline
      We are the most nacionalist people in europe bro

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  11. Tirana is one more destination where JU did not finish the job. If they decided to play with the hub/transfer carrier concept they should have offered more frequencies, up to 3 on workdays.

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    1. JU has done relatively well in TIA. They fly 9 times per week and I think some of the flights are with the Airbuses and not exclusively with ATRs but I'm not sure.

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    2. But do 9 weekly flights make you competitive?

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    3. The question is wheather more than 9 weekly would produce losses.

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    4. They should be flying double daily like Adria to be competative.

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    5. JU is overall a loss making operation big time. The question is whether 18-21 rotations would lead to much more options, passengers and options for O/D travelers.

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  12. What a wasteful project. Better that they simply invested in an LCC.

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  13. They should reconsider that livery!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, don't think it will look to good on the plane.

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    2. I actually think it will look quite good on the jet.

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  14. Whatever happened to Albanian Airlines?

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    1. Went bust.

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    2. I know but any particular reason? They were around for a while.

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    3. Mafia managment.

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  15. Good to see that a non-ExYu country/airline are featured today. It shows how their plans will effect two ExYu carriers and their planned network to ExYu. I wish Air Albania luck. I'm skeptical of success especially in the ExYu market. This airline might work if it offers relatively cheap and reliable connections for the Albanian diaspora. So far no plans for BEG service so ASL should be ok in the short term. Albania is a growing market, and has great potencial along it's coast.

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  16. I hope things will change in coming years for JU. Government should negotiate their entry in Star Alliance and handing over of some routes exclusively to JU (not rest of LH group) from Serbia and possibly from Montenegro if they are taken over. Following Adria/LH model in Tirana. However, LCCs competition would still be there.

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  17. Tirana is doing well for Air Serbia, particularly with New York like the article rightly says. I think it is a highly untapped market (similar to Sarajevo). Whether there is demand for flights to cities like Zagreb and Podgorica I don't know, but it will be interesting how this airline develops, particularly under the guide of Turkish Airlines.

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  18. a political project first of all.

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  19. JP will operate fewer flights to TIA next year for sure, from LJU.

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  20. So TIA has a chance of reaching 3 million this year, crazy! This is just a bit behind ZAG.
    I checked they are starting many new routes.
    Well done AL!

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    1. It is impressive. Wizz Air helped a lot.

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    2. W6 have barely 2 routes! It´s mainly Italy being extremely close.

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  21. TIA-PRN? How long would that take?

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    1. I actually don't get the point of this route with there being a new highway and all.

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    2. Of course they wont fly from TIA to PRN or TGD. Its just Edi Rama s fantasy

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  22. Good. The more competition the better.

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  23. Do we know which aircraft they plan to use?

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    1. Probably 737 from Tk.

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    2. 30.min in air.and it has highway brand new between it takes 2 hours and less than 30 min drive way

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  24. I think also SOF is on the list, because 1 year ago there were some talks about having a line IST-SOF-TIA-IST

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    1. There used to be regular flights from SOF-TIA, operated by Hemus Air more than a decade ago. Not sure if this route is necessary.

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  25. When are tickets Tirana-New York going to be available for purchase?

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  26. Air Serbia will go bust soon, like Malev did in Hungary. it is a "known fact" among experts. Unless they find some investors.. But whom? Etihad won't "give" more cash, only try to pull out as much as possible...That is the case

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    Replies
    1. Koji si ti ekspert? Tvoja jedina ekspertiza je kontinuirano trolovanje protiv Er Srbije i nula znanja.

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  27. According to the latest news, Air Albania will have exclusively a fleet of five-to-ten year-old A320 Airbuses and an A330 Airbus for the JFK route.

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