All flights to and from Tirana International Airport (TIA), the only international airport in Albania, were canceled on Wednesday, as air traffic controllers went on strike.
According to the local media, 68 air traffic controllers from Albcontrol company went on strike on Wednesday over working conditions and pay cuts.
Speaking at a press conference from the airport, Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Belinda Balluku confirmed that all flights have been suspended.
Balluku, who held a meeting with the representatives of the company earlier, said that air traffic controllers demand a full return of their previous salaries and that the two sides did not reach an agreement.
The salary of air traffic controllers has been cut by 62 percent over the past year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the representatives of the strikers.
The minister noted that currently air traffic controllers are paid 2,490 U.S. dollars per month, five times the country’s average salary of about 500 U.S. dollars.
Balluku warned of legal action against air traffic controllers, saying that “no one can hold the country hostage.”