Albania, with the cheapest airline tickets in the world, challenges Southern Italy

The international airport of Tirana has seen such a surge in travelers arriving and departing in recent weeks that the facility is now overcrowded, prompting expansion efforts, reports the largest Italian newspaper “Corriere della Sera”.

“This is no coincidence. In the first part of 2024, the airport experienced the fastest growth in Europe, with over 200% compared to 2019,” says “Aci Europe”.

Thanks to the boom in tourist flows, several airlines have appeared, naturally. But the main reason lies in the unprecedented battle between “Ryanair” and “Wizz Air” with fares so low that they make Albania the country with the cheapest air tickets in the world.

Three-forths of the offer in the hands of two carriers

In the 12 months of this year, according to data provided to “Courier” by the specialized platform “Cirium”, three out of four seats on sale on flights to and from the Balkan country are in the hands of the two European ultra-low-cost carriers.

“Wizz Air” has been flying since April 2017, while “Ryanair” only since October 31, 2023.

And with other struggling carriers – starting from local ones like “Albawings” – and “easyJet” currently uninterested in expanding connections, their share is destined to increase.


It’s a challenge primarily related to connections with Italy: not only because a large Albanian community lives here but also because – as seen last summer – there was a real influx of Italians to Albanian beaches.

Prices often see “Ryanair” as cheaper. Even close to departure. Let’s take a round trip flight from Bergamo to Tirana (May 15-20). With “Wizz Air” the cost is 59.98 euros, with “Ryanair” 25.98 euros. Taxes included, extras excluded. Traveling with the Irish for 1,000 kilometers (in each direction) costs slightly more than the bus ticket needed to reach Bergamo Airport from Milan Central Station (48 kilometers).

Price evolution

According to “Courier” analysis on specialized platforms, airfares in the first quarter of 2024 in Tirana (considering all destinations) dropped by 29% compared to the same period in 2023 and by 54% compared to 2019. All in a period where airfares in Europe have increased, even by double digits. If you look only at flights Albania-Italy in the first half of this year, tickets are 66-68% lower than in 2019 and show a decrease of 39% compared to the first half of 2023.


In Tirana, the two ultra-low-cost carriers are doing what they’ve always done but with “greater intensity”. The company managing the airport offers a package of incentives such as zero landing fees, free parking for the first year, or 5.7 euros per passenger transported if the threshold of 470,000 annual passengers is exceeded. The growth is so rapid that the Irish, who started operations on November 1, 2023, immediately became the second most present airline after “Wizz Air”.

Offer in 2024

In 2024, according to Cirium data, in Tirana “Wizz Air” will put on sale 7.8 million seats on flights to and from Tirana. Following, currently at a certain distance, is “Ryanair” with 3.2 million seats.

Further away are “Air Albania” with 680,000 and “Albawings” with 500,000. However, the latter – quite present on routes with Italy – has had no flights for several weeks. In total, 14.1 million seats are offered in the Albanian capital – 62% more than last year and 240% more than in 2019.

Comparison with Italy

Specialists emphasize that the boom in Tirana is a serious first warning especially for tourism in Southern Italy. This year, in fact, with over 14 million seats on sale, only the Albanian airport exceeded the combined offer of the two airports in Puglia (Bari and Brindisi: 12.3 million) and that of the three Sardinian airports (Cagliari, Olbia, Alghero: 12.6 million), approaching Campania (Naples, Salerno: 15.4 million) and reducing the distance from Sicily (Palermo, Catania, Comiso, Trapani: 25.9 million).

Protagonists in 2023

In 2023, according to “Tirana International Airport”, the Albanian airport registered 7.26 million passengers between arrivals and departures: of these, 6.85 million were from scheduled flights, 396,000 from charter connections.

Regarding market shares – in this case for people transported and not for seats offered – “Wizz Air” was the leading airline with 61%, followed by the “Lufthansa” group with 8%, then “Air Albania” (7%), “Albawings” (5%), “Ryanair” (2%, but flew in the last two months), while “Ita Airways” from Italy had a share of 1%.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *