Support independent journalism in Central & Eastern Europe.
Donate to TOL!

× Learn more
No, thanks Photo: Abbas Atilay
back  |  printBookmark and Share

Big Discounts on Previously Flown Albanian MiGs!

Old Soviet and Chinese fighters will soon give way to state of the art NATO planes.

12 April 2019

Albania is avidly seeking buyers for dozens of mothballed Soviet and Chinese fighter jets.


The planes come with exotic back stories. Some of the aging jets are stored in a former air base carved into the side of a mountain, AFP reports.


Even so, since opening up the bidding for the planes in 2016, legal red tape has held up the process. Museums and private collectors have expressed interest in the decommissioned MiG-19s, MiG-17s, MiG-21s, and other models.


Still more old jets sit out in the open at the Kucova air base, near the city of Berat, where they could soon be rubbing shoulders with top-of-the-line NATO aircraft.


Albania MiGDozens of old jets like this MiG-15 are scattered around the Kucova air base. Photo via Wikimedia Commons / Rob Schleiffert


The old jets in their mountain bunker at Gjader in northern Albania are all that remain of what was once a secret air base, AFP writes.


"It's not so easy to get this kind of aircraft now, because all of them have been mainly destroyed, not stored like they are in Albania," French businessman Julien Roche said.


The Albania-based collector hopes to buy a Chinese-made MiG-15, a gift from North Korea, for about $11,000 and install it in his garden.


NATO plans to transform the Kucova air base into one of the largest and most modern in the Balkans, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said on 1 April, as the country celebrated 10 years as an alliance member.


“It is one of the best [symbols] of this anniversary, because the base is conceived as one of the reference points of our strategic alliances, and will turn into a base for giving NATO a revival,” European Western Balkans quotes Rama as saying.



  • NATO is responsible for securing Albania’s airspace as the country decommissioned the last of its military aircraft more than a decade ago. But it is poor security at Tirana international airport that has officials red-faced as they struggle to contain the fallout from a daring plane robbery on Tuesday.


  • Some reports say the gang got away with 10 million euros in cash loaded on an Austrian Airlines plane, according to the Tirana Times. Media reports said the three thieves got access to the airport pretending to be tax agents. Two of the men fled the scene after police shot dead one suspected robber.


  • The government sent military troops to provide security at the airport Wednesday and blamed what it called a “Chinese company” for security lapses. The airport heist was the third in as many years, according to Exit – Explaining Albania.
Compiled by Ky Krauthamer
back  |  printBookmark and Share



#PragueMediaPoint Conference for journalists, media professionals, and scholars

‚ÄčThe 2019 edition of Prague Media Point will highlight these types of inspiring examples and more. We will offer a mix of scholarly presentations, including keynote addresses; sessions with innovators explaining their solutions; and networking opportunities to promote the exchange of know-how. As in years past, the conference will have a special regional focus on Central and Eastern Europe, though we look forward to covering cases and trends from other parts of the world.



Moldovan diaries

The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.

This innovative approach to story telling gives voice to ordinary people and takes the reader on the virtual trip across Moldovan rural and urban landscapes. 

It is a unique and intimate map of the nation.


© Transitions Online 2019. All rights reserved. ISSN 1214-1615
Published by Transitions o.s., Baranova 33, 130 00 Prague 3, Czech Republic.