Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has visited Albania’s main airport and two of its major ports as he continues his trade mission in the country.
Tirana International Airport, based in the capital, is undergoing a major expansion including adding a new terminal to process the increased number of passengers it is seeing thanks to an increase in tourism in the region.
The airport, which is home to one of air carrier Wizz Air’s biggest European bases, is on track to welcome four million passengers in 2022 and plans to double its capacity in the coming years.
Current destinations include daily links to London – its busiest route – and regular flights to Liverpool, alongside services to Milan, Istanbul, Rome and Vienna. During his visit, the Mayor pushed for any expansion opportunities to also include Teesside as the two countries seek to work together more closely following his meeting with Prime Minister Edi Rama during the trip.
Mayor Houchen then visited the container terminal Port of Durrës, the country’s largest seaport, and the port of Romano, which is also seeing significant development works taking place.
Mayor Houchen said: “Like Teesside, Albania is mirroring the work being carried out right now in our region and the country shares our ambitions and potential for huge growth.
“It was very interesting to see first-hand how a region with many similarities – but also some important differences – is driving forward massive development at its ports and airport. What I’ve learned about everything they’re doing there will be invaluable as we press ahead with our transformational plans at Teesworks, Teesside Airport and with the Teesside Freeport.
“What has also become clear from my visits and meetings is the scale of opportunity and desire from Albania to work hand-in-hand with Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.”