Controversial airport construction in Albanian protected area casts shadow as far as Munich

++ Operating company Munich Airport International (MAI) is linked to illegal Vlora airport ++ Construction to take place in protected area of special importance for international bird migration ++

Gabriel Schwaderer and Richard Mergner in front of construction site poster at Vlora Airport

Gabriel Schwaderer and Richard Mergner in front of construction site poster at Vlora Airport

© Richard Mergner
detail on construction site poster Vlora Airport

Detail on construction site poster: Munich Airport International GmbH involved in Vlora Airport construction

© Richard Mergner
Vlora Airport's runway

Bird's eye view of the Vlora Airport's runway

flamingos in the Narta Lagoon

The Narta Lagoon is an important resting area for flamingos.


Munich/Radolfzell. Construction work on Vlora Airport near the Narta Lagoon in Albania continues to progress despite protests from nature conservation organisations and EU institutions. Albania's second international airport is currently being built in an outstanding nature reserve of great importance for international bird migration - with the cooperation of Munich Airport International GmbH (MAI), a subsidiary of Flughafen München GmbH. MAI says it is "acting in an advisory capacity", but Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama presents the Munich airport company's involvement differently in public, namely as the future operator of Vlora Airport. The Bavarian Ministry of Finance has denied this in a letter to EuroNatur. EuroNatur had criticized the airport construction in a letter to Prime Minister Markus Söder on 9 February and also pointed out the involvement of the MAI; a reply from the State Chancellery has not yet been received.

In a press conference on Wednesday, 16 August, EuroNatur Executive Director, Gabriel Schwaderer, and BUND Regional Chairman, Richard Mergner, presented this contradiction to the media. During a trip to the construction site in the immediate vicinity of the Narta Lagoon, a resting and breeding place for especially large birds such as flamingos and rare Dalmatian pelicans, the two had informed themselves immediately beforehand about the current situation.

"We have seen the flocks of flamingos living there in the Narta Lagoon - the planes would fly right through this protected area," Richard Mergner, Chairman of BUND Bavaria, is appalled. "We call on the Bavarian government, the federal government and the city of Munich as shareholders of MAI to ensure that the consultancy mandate for Vlora Airport is rescinded and MAI withdraws from the project".

"An airport in the middle of a protected area is unthinkable, no matter how creative the Albanian government is in zoning the construction area out of the protected area. The European Parliament and the European Commission have also strongly criticised the construction of the airport and called on the Albanian government to stop this project, which is harmful to nature. Against the background of the ongoing accession negotiations, it would be wise to follow these recommendations and not ignore the appeals of the EU institutions," adds Gabriel Schwaderer, Executive Director of EuroNatur.

The internationally active nature conservation organisation has been active in Albania for years and supports its local project partners, PPNEA and AOS, in their efforts against the airport. Among other things, the Albanian NGOs want to put a stop to the construction of the airport by taking legal action.

Background information:

  • Narta Lagoon: The Narta Lagoon is located in the delta of the river Vjosa, right on one of the last unspoilt parts of the Albanian Adriatic coast. The Vjosa has gained great notoriety this year: after ten years of campaigning by EuroNatur and its partner organisations Riverwatch and EcoAlbania, the river was proclaimed Europe's first Wild River National Park and placed under protection by the Albanian government. At the same time, the construction of Vlora Airport was pushed ahead.
  • Munich Airport International GmbH (MAI) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Flughafen München GmbH (FMG). FMG's shareholders are the State of Bavaria with 51 per cent, the Federal Republic of Germany with 26 per cent and the City of Munich with 23 per cent.


Anja Arning, EuroNatur: anja.arning(at), Tel: 07732-927213
Felix Hälbich, BUND Bayern, Tel. 0 89 / 5 14 69 76 11; Mobil: 01 71 / 3 37 54 59, E-Mail: felix.haelbich(at)

How you can help

Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please use your possibilities to help. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to a more livable environment.

Sustaining membership

EuroNatur focuses on long-term nature conservation projects instead of quick fixes. With your regular donations, you give us the planning security we need.