EU project modernises Albania's civil aviation

17/04/2014

Romania and France assist Albania to upgrade its civil aviation based on EU standards.

By Linda Karadaku for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 17/04/14

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An EU civil aviation project in Albania includes improving airport operations. [AFP]

The EU is implementing a project to improve and modernise Albania's civil aviation based on Union standards and best practices, officials said.

The Strengthening of Albanian Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) project will last two years at a cost of 800,000 euros in co-operation with civil aviation authorities in Romania and France.

EU officials said the project will ensure more, shorter and cheaper routes, fewer delays and improve passenger safety.

Officials said the project's goals are for Albania to adopt legislation based on EU standards, adopt best EU practices, produce technical manuals and update procedures and documents, and provide on-the-job training and study tours for civil aviation authority staff. It also aims to enable the aviation authority to conduct oversight.

The project will improve civil aviation expertise, giving a special focus on safety, which is the most important aspect of aviation, said Francois Begeot, head of the economic reform and infrastructure section at the EU delegation in Albania.

"EU integration is a long process, and civil aviation has a key role to play in terms of image, culture, easy movement of persons and tourism. By safely attracting newcomers to Albania, it should bring extra revenues to the country," Begeot said.

The project covers all civil aviation components including air navigation, operations and flight licensing, airworthiness, airport operations, organisation and management, security and safety and effects on the environment.

"[S]ustainability is of utmost importance in this twinning. It is a long-term project whose effects should last long after it ends," Begeot said.

ACAA officials said daily communications with Romanian and French civil authorities will ensure transfer of know-how and information and will help create a sustainable civil aviation workforce.

"The project will help resolve the deficiencies identified earlier by the international aviation controlling agencies [ICAO, EASA] and enable the development of free movement of passengers and goods between Europe and Albania to continue," Petrit Sulaj, ACAA executive director, told SETimes.

Sulaj said the EU's reports on implementing Union aviation standards have so far been optimistic.

"But further attempts are required in the fields of safety, management and supervision of the air traffic, airports and air operators," he added.

In 2010 Albania participated in a similar project with Italy's civil aviation authority to implement the EU legislative framework, standards and management of its civil aviation security system.

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Romania's civil aviation evolution can serve as an example for Albania, said Sebastian Radu, a Romanian aviation blogger.

"It has had a steady and concrete development lately -- new airports are being built while the others are modernised, personnel and services are constantly improved and an increasing number of airliners start new routes in and from Romania," Radu told SETimes.

Correspondent Paul Ciociou in Bucharest contributed to this report.

What will be the effect of implementing EU civil aviation standards in Albania? Share your opinion in the comments space.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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