NATO completes modernisation of major airbase in Albania

  • 04 Mar. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 04 Mar. 2024 13:17

Albania officially re-opened Kuçova airbase on Monday (4 March 2024), after transforming the decades-old base into a modern hub for NATO future air operations. Located around 80 kilometres south of Tirana, Kuçova airbase will serve Albania and support Alliance logistics, air operations, training and exercises. NATO funded the base upgrade with around €50 million.

Ceremony at Kuçova airbase

“The airbase will serve as an important NATO air hub,” said Acting Spokesperson Dylan White. “The makeover of Kuçova airbase is a strategic investment and shows that NATO continues to strengthen its presence in the Western Balkans, an area of strategic importance to the Alliance.”

Monday’s formal opening was attended by the Albanian President, Bajram Begaj, the Prime Minister, Edi Rama, the President of the Assembly, Lindita Nikolla, the Minister of Defence Niko Peleshi and the Chief of Defence, Major General Arben Kingji. The Italian Minister of Defence Guido Crosetto, Turkish Lieutenant General, Göksel Kahya and other high ranking officials also spoke at the ceremony. From NATO’s side, the Commander of the Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejón, Lieutenant General Juan Pablo Sanchez De Lara and the General Manager of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), Stacy Cummings joined. After the speeches, aircraft from Allied Nations performed a flight show.

The Kuçova base is NATO’s biggest project in Albania in the last decade. Renovation work began with a ground-breaking ceremony in 2019 and includes upgrades and renovations to the control tower, runways, hangars and storage facilities. The works were funded by NATO’s Security Investment Programme (NSIP) which covers major defence construction projects in Allied countries.