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Established in 2005 and started operations in 2006. Domestic, regional & international, scheduled & charter, passenger & cargo, jet airplane services.
Bulevardi Zogu 1, Nr 1
The Republic of Albania was established in 1912, it covers an area of 28,748 sq km, its population is 3.5 million, its capital is Tirana, and its official language is Albanian.
December 2005: 1 MD-82 (48095, ZA-ARB), Air Adriatic (AZD) wet-leased.
January 2006: The management of Albania's first low-cost carrier (LCC) BelleAir, is confident that it will secure the necessary licences to launch new services into Western Europe. Has included London among the destinations it plans to serve from summer 2006, subject to successfully launching operations early in 2006. It will start by serving Bergamo, Forli, Pisa, Rome, Trieste, and Verona in Italy using an MD-82 & an ATR42, but it plans to add flights to Athens, Istanbul, London (Stansted), Liegte, & Pristina, when additional airplanes are acquired.
BelleAir (BEL) was formed in May 2005. Plans to begin services with an MD-82 (ZA-ARB), Air Adriatic (AZD) leased, 163Y. Is now a Low-Cost Carrier (LCC). Orientated towards ethnic Albanian travelers, initially flying from Tirana to destinations in Italy, including Ancona, Bologna, Milan, Pisa, Rome, Trieste, & Verona, Athens & Istanbul.
April 2006: Plans to add flights to Athens, Cairo, Sharm el Sheikh, Dusseldorf, Antalya, Istanbul, Tunis, & London Stansted.
December 2006: F 100 (11268, YU-AOL), Montenegro Air (MNO), wet-leased - see photo.
July 2007: MD-82 (48095) returned and leased to Aurora Airlines (URR) as (S5-ACC). MD-82 (49104, ZA-ARD), delivery, ex-Spirit Airlines (SPR), ex-(N804NK).
September 2008: Belle Air (BEL) is a privately owned, start-up Low-Cost Carrier (LCC), operating from Tirana to a number of Italian cities. (BEL) also serves destinations in Greece, and Bosnia Herzegovina.
(ICAO) Code: LBY - (Callsign - ALBAN-BELLE).
Main base: Tirana Rinas Mother Teresa airport (TIA).
International, scheduled destinations: Ancona; Antalya; Bari; Bergamo; Cuneo; Firenze; Forli/Bologna; Genova; Liege; Milan Malpensa (MXP); Parma; Perugia; Pescara; Pisa; Pristina; Rimini; Rome; Sharm El Sheikh; Tel Aviv; Treviso; Tirana; Trieste; Verona; & Zagreb.
May 2009: A320-233 (F-HBAD), Aigle Azur (AZU) wet-leased - - SEE PHOTO - - "BEL-A320-MAY09."
June 2009: A319-132 (2335, ZA-ARA), delivery, ex-Air Berlin (BER), ex-(D-ABGD), CIT Group (TCI) leased.
July 2009: AJ Walter Aviation (AJW) signed a power-by-the-hour contract with Belle Air (BEL) covering (BEL)'s A320 family airplanes. (BEL) plans to operate up to seven Airbus (EDS) narrow bodies within three years.
ATR72-212A (879, F-ORAA), delivery - - SEE PHOTO - - "BEL-ATR72-JUL09."
August 2009: Lufthansa Systems will provide its Lido flight management system to Belle Air (BEL) under a five-year contract announced this month.
August 2010: Belle Air (BEL) has added a second ex-Silk Air (SLK) A319-132 (1098, F-ORAG) to its fleet and has introduced new routes from Tirana:
Tirana - Antalya: 6x weekly seasonal service until September 24;
Tirana - Venice Marco Polo: 4x weekly service (already launched).
Belle Air (BEL) has also announced plans to add Geneva and Istanbul to its network later this year.
Belle Air Europe (Ancona) is a new subsidiary of Belle Air (BEL) based in Ancona that has taken delivery of its first new ATR72-500. It has announced plans to launch routes from Ancona to Milan Orio al Serio, Skopje, Split, and Pristina, from Venice Marco Polo to Skopje, and from Verona to Pristina and Skopje later this year.
August 2011: Belle Air Europe (BEL) launched twice-weekly, ATR72-500 service from Skopje to Ancona and Venice.
October 2011: A320-214 (3492, EI-LIS), ex-(EK-32005), Cit Group (TCI) leased.
January 2012: Belle Air (BEL) has resumed three times weekly A320-200 service from Tirana to Turin on December 17. (BEL) has been forced to ground its single MD-82 because of a ban on Albanian registered airplanes by the European Union (EU). It has temporarily leased wet-leased two SmartLynx (LAJ) A320-200s to replace its MD-82 and to increase frequencies following the grounding of Albanian Airlines.
Belle Air Europe (BEL) has leased a first ex-Armavia (ARZ) A320-200 from early November. It has introduced new services from Skopje:
Pristina - Friedrichshafen: weekly A319-100 service has started on December 17;
Pristina - Hanover: weekly A319-100 service starting on June 30;
Pristina - Nuremberg: weekly seasonal A319-100 service between December 16 and January 13 and 2x weekly service from July 8;
Pristina - Vienna: 4x weekly A319-100/A320-200 service has started on December 17;
Skopje - Dusseldorf International: 2x weekly A319-100 service has started on December 14;
Skopje - Rome Fiumicino: 2x weekly ATR72-500 service has started on December 15;
Skopje - Vienna: weekly A319-100 service has started on December 17.
It has, however, given up its Venice Marco Polo - Skopje route again.
May 2012: Belle Air (BEL) and Wizz Air (WZZ) might have to move their flights operating to Forli (FRL) later this year unless a new airport operator can be found. Current airport operator (SEAF) has entered voluntary liquidation proceedings given it could no longer finance its losses. The Italian civil aviation authority (ENAC) will now finance operations at the airport for additional four months to allow time for a tender to be published to try and find a new airport operator. If that turns out to be unsuccessful Belle Air (BEL) would have to cancel its twice weekly service to Tirana Rinas Mother Teresa airport (TIA) (it already serves both Bologna Giuseppe Marconi (BLQ) and Rimini Federico Fellini International (RMI) airports anyway) and Wizz Air (WZZ) would have to move its flights to Forli from Bucharest Otopeni Henri Coanda International (OTP), Budapest Ferenc Liszt International (BUD), Cluj-Napoca Someseni (CLJ), Katowice Pyrzowice (KTW), Sofia International (SOF), Timisoara Traian Vuia International (TSR) and Warsaw Fryderyk Chopin (WAW) airports elsewhere.
June 2012: Belle Air (BEL) has definitely retired its last MD-82 (49104, ZA-ARD) which had already previously been stored at Tirana Rinas Mother Teresa airport (TIA). (BEL) currently operates two A320-200s, two A319-100s and one ATR72-500. It will however also soon add the only ATR72-500 (908, I-LZAN) operated by its Italian sister carrier Belle Air Europe ((IATA) Code: L9, based at Ancona Falconara airport (AOI)).
October 2012: Belle Air (BEL) has announced a new "regional carrier alliance" which includes sister carrier Belle Air Europe ((IATA) Code: L9, based at Ancona Falconara airport (AOI)) and Darwin Airline ((IATA) Code: F7, based at Lugano Agno airport (LUG)). The carriers plan to jointly use their fleets through dry and wet lease arrangements, enter code share and ticketing agreements and aim to find cost synergies by combining some of their procurement processes. Belle Air (BEL) operates 2 A320-200s, 2 A319-100s and 2 ATR72-500s from its base at Tirana Rinas Mother Teresa airport (TIA), Belle Air Europe operates an A320-200 and an A319-100 predominantly on routes from Pristina (PRN) and Skopje Alexander the Great (SKP) airports. The two carriers already share their fleet today. Darwin has six Saab 2000s based at Geneva Cointrin (GVA), Lugano Agno (LUG) and Rimini Federico Fellini International (RMI) airports.
December 2012: Darwin Airline ((IATA) Code: F7, based at Lugano Agno airport (LUG)), will launch service to Pristina from Zurich (daily) and Geneva (2X-weekly), on December 14 using Belle Air (BEL) A319 and A320 airplanes on the routes.
June 2013: Albanian airline, Belle Air (BEL) has signed a power-by-the-hour contract with A J Walter Aviation (AJW) for support of its new A319s and A320s. (BEL)’s A320 fleet should total up to seven airplanes in three years.
July 2013: A319-132 (1727, F-ORAJ), ex-(SX-DGG), (CIT) Aerospace (TCI) leased.
November 2013: Albanian low-cost carrier (LCC) Belle Air (BEL) has suspended services while it seeks new investors to help restructure the airline. (BEL), which began operations in 2005 and was Albania’s first (LCC), has a network of around 25 destinations, heavily biased towards Italy, where there is a large Albanian population.
(BEL) operated a small leased fleet of three A320s and four A319s, plus two ATR72 turboprops.
(BEL) said it had been forced to temporarily suspend operations “due to the general economic situation, the decline of purchasing power, recession in the markets it operates as well as from the freezing for over 18 days of its bank accounts. “We thank you for your trust in all these years. This is a sad day for you and for us at Belle Air (BEL).”
(BEL) said that it was starting a restructuring process “aiming to return with lower prices and quality service in the Albanian market”, adding that it was seeking both domestic and international investors.
The status of its sister-company, Belle Air Europe is uncertain.
Tirana Airport serving the capital of Albania faces a major challenge after its biggest carrier, locally-based belle air (BEL), ceased operations. (BEL), which was formed in 2005, operated a fleet of two A320s, three A319s and two ATR72s, to over >20 international destinations, the vast majority of which were in Italy. According to Tirana Airport’s press releases, (BEL) accounted for 36.5% of airport traffic in 2008, 43.9% in 2010 and 50.1% in 2012. In 2012, Tirana Airport handled almost 1.7 million passengers, down from its peak of just over >1.8 million in 2011. Alitalia (ALI) and Air One (ADH) combined, accounted for around 19% of passengers in 2012. In the first nine months of 2013, Tirana Airport passenger numbers are up +5.4%, with Pegasus Airlines (PGS) launching a new five-times weekly service to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen in September.
December 2013: Low-cost carrier (LCC) Belle Air Europe (BAE) has ceased operations just days after sister company Belle Air (BEL) halted services.
A brief statement posted on the company website said: “Due to its general difficult economic situation, Belle Air Europe (BAE) must temporarily suspend its flights. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
(BAE) was an offshoot of Albania-based Belle Air. It had offices in Pristina, Kosovo and mainly operated to Italian destinations.
(BAE) operated single-leased Airbus A320s and A319s, which have been reportedly returned to lessors.
Alitalia ((IATA) Code: AZ, based at Rome Fiumicino) (ALI) and its low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary Air One ((IATA) Code: AP, based at Rome Fiumicino) (ADH) are set to collectively fill the void left by Belle Air (BEL) on Italy - Albania flights. Alitalia (ALI)'s inaugural 3x-weekly Bari to Tirana service will launch from January 5, 2014 with A319-100 equipment, while Air One (ADH) will launch its own 4x to 7x weekly services to Tirana from Bologna, Venice Marco Polo, and Verona from December 9 using A320-200s.
For the Belgium - Albania route, Jetairfly (TUB) has already doubled its sole weekly flight between Brussels and Tirana to replace Belle Air (BEL)'s weekly flight.