Air Albania (ZB, Tirana) will launch next year and operate on routes from Tirana mostly to the nearby former Yugoslav countries, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced.

"Coming soon", Rama wrote on his Facebook page next to a visualization of a B737-400 in Air Albania's livery. He further commented that while it is too early to announce any precise dates, "half of the work is done and soon, I believe the next spring, this bird is going to start flying."

According to the PM's statement, the airline will first fly from Tirana to Pristina, Skopje, Zagreb, Podgorica, Sarajevo and unrevealed destinations in Western Europe. No information has been provided regarding the prospective airline's fleet.

Air Albania is aided by Turkish Airlines, although it remains unknown whether the Istanbul Atatürk-based carrier provides funding, aircraft or know-how.

Albania, one of the poorest European countries, was ruled as a communist autarchy independently from the neighbouring Yugoslavia. It emerged as a democracy in the early 1990s, but ever since has been marred by corruption, banking scandals and a lack of economic growth. Its two largest carriers, flag carrier Albanian Airlines (1992) and private Belle Air, went bankrupt in 2011 and 2013 respectively. In 2016, Albawings started operations.

Tirana, the only airport in the country, remains dominated by Italian carriers. According to the ch-aviation capacity module, the three largest airlines in the Albanian capital are Blue Panorama Airlines, Ernest Airlines and Alitalia. Air Albania would mostly compete with Adria Airways and Air Serbia.