The Armed Forces take over the airport. Air traffic control strike shuts flights

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 7, 2021 21:20

The Armed Forces take over the airport. Air traffic control strike shuts flights

The Armed Forces have taken the control of the building of Albcontrol at Tirana International Airport, after 65 air traffic controllers started a one day strike against the latest pay cuts and working conditions. According to the Minister of Infrastructure Balluku, the police will intervene to remove from the building all the controllers that will not obey the law. The latest developments come after a day where all the inbound and outbound flights from Tirana have been cancelled due to the strike. 

The traffic controllers from the company Albcontrol entered a strike today after they couldn't reach an agreement with the Minister of Infrastructure Balluku regarding their salaries. According to Minister Balluku, the state has no financial involvement with Albcontrol, and the traffic controllers salaries are not related to the state budget. She explained that the reduction of salaries of the controllers was influenced by the reduction of 57% of the air traffic throughout 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

After the traffic controllers walked out, Minister Balluku accused them of organizing a coup. “Should the country be taken hostage by some people, because this is a coup, because they are dissatisfied with the salary of 2,490 dollars and if we do not do provide them 4,400 dollars then they will hold the country hostage? This affects the security of the country and the right of free movement of every citizen. This is state capture, it is pure blackmail,” declared Balluku, adding that the strike will have implications also in the arrival of the next doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Prime Minister Rama also reacted immediately against the strike, saying that the abortion of the activity at the airport “will not be tolerated,” announcing that the organizers will be prosecuted and will have to face the law, “which strictly prohibits the interruption of the tower activity by the controllers.” According to the Prime Minister, the strike was inspired by Berisha and Meta, who do not want to see the arrival of vaccines.

Meanwhile President Meta reacted also on this issue, by inviting the controllers to remain in office without interruption, to fulfill their mission in guarantying the proper functioning and without any problems of the Albanian air traffic. According to the President, the "airspace security in the Republic of Albania is a matter of national security,” and for this reason all the institutions should work to guarantee the proper functionality of the airport.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 7, 2021 21:20