Air traffic resumes in Tirana amid controllers' strike

Locals replaced by workers from Turkey and Greece

09 April, 17:00

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, APRIL 9 - Air traffic on Friday resumed regularly at Tirana's Mother Theresa, Albania's only international airport, which had been blocked since Wednesday by a strike organized by air traffic controllers whose salaries were slashed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis, which risked to halt the airport for a long time and also created problems for the management of Albanian air space, was resolved by the intervention of authorities who decided to replace the air traffic controllers on strike with controllers from Turkey and with another group expected to arrive Friday from Greece.

    "They will work together to guarantee activity. It was an act of solidarity in a very serious situation and incomprehensible for anyone", said the Premier Edi Rama in an interview to Albanian broadcaster ABC News.

    Since last April, the company Albcontrol reviewed the job contract of air controllers, nearly halving their monthly salary to almost 2,000 euros after revenues plummeted due to reduced air traffic caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Presenting a united front, controllers handed to the company's directors a statement in which they said they were "unable to work due to stress".

    Authorities claimed instead that it was an "illicit strike".

    Albcontrol reported the case to judicial authorities and prosecutors started an investigation. Over 20 air controllers were questioned and detained on charges of "abuse of office".(ANSAmed).

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