Air Albania To Launch Weekly Flights To London Stansted

Start-up airline Air Albania will be operating its first-ever flight to the United Kingdom next week as it launches direct flights from Tirana to London Stansted on July 26th. Let’s take a look at these flights and the competition that the Albanian flag carrier will have on the route.

Air Albania Airbus A319
Air Albania aircraft will soon connect Albania to London. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia

Air Albania’s London flights

Next week, on 26th July, an Air Albania Airbus A319 will take off from its base in Tirana International Airport heading for London Stansted Airport. This will be the first-ever service that Air Albania operates to the United Kingdom.

The flight from Tirana to London Stansted will carry the flight number ZB2015. On the way back, the flight number is ZB2016. The flights will operate once weekly on a seasonal basis: every Sunday until September 20th.

Flights for summer 2021 are yet to be put on sale. But it is expected that Air Albania will increase the frequencies on the route if the flights are as successful as the Albanian flag carrier hopes they will be.

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The flight schedule

The flight schedule for the flights will be as follows:

  • Flight ZB2015 will depart Tirana International Airport (TIA) at 18:30 local time to arrive in London Stansted Airport (STN) at 20:30. There is a one-hour time difference between the United Kingdom and Albania, so the flight duration is three hours.
  • Flight ZB2016 will depart London Stansted at 21:30 local time, for arrival back in Tirana at 01:30.

All flights will be operated by Air Albania’s sole Airbus aircraft, the A319.

Air Albania A319 Airbus
Air Albania is the flag carrier of Albania. Photo: Albinfo via Wikimedia

What competition is there on the route?

Air Albania faces intense competition on the route. Interestingly, Tirana has, for the past several years, been one of the most frequently connected capital cities in the wider region when it comes to flights to London.

On the day that Air Albania takes off for Stansted for the first time, there will also be two other flights to London: easyJet, taking off for London Gatwick as flight U28942, and Wizz Air, taking off as flight W64466. easyJet will take off at 12:15 while Wizz Air will take off just ten minutes after Air Albania, at 18:40.

Boeing 777, British Airways, Retirement
British Airways will not be a strong competitor this year. Photo: Getty Images

Ordinarily, British Airways also operates up to double daily flights from Tirana to Gatwick. However, due to the current crisis in the aviation industry, this has been drastically cut. British Airways is only operating up to three weekly flights to Tirana this July, and all from Heathrow.

Air Albania’s flight schedule might seem uncompetitive, and a disadvantage on such a contested route, with its arrival at 01:30. However, Wizz Air arrives at about the same time from Luton on a daily basis, and British Airways used to arrive and depart between 03:00 and 05:00 in the morning.

Do you think Air Albania will maintain the route from Tirana to London even in the face of fierce competition from other airlines on the route? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments below.