Civil Aviation in Albania
The Civil Aviation legal regime in the Republic of Albania is primarily governed by the Air Code of Albania (under Law no. 10 040, approved on 22.12.2008). The Air Code has been drafted with the assistance of EUROCONTROL under Aviation Safety & Air Traffic Control Programme (ASATC) and reviewed by European Commission (EC) under European Common Aviation Area Agreement (ECAA) activities.
The public authority that regulates and supervises all the activities in the field the air transport in Albania is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The Air Code clearly defines the CAA as a pure regulator with substantial administrative and financial autonomy from the State.
As the civil aviation industry has grown, and in particular one domestic airline company has undergone massive and quick expansion over the recent years, from we as a firm have seen various aircraft leasing deals. Understandably the primary issues for foreign investors in this field were registration of aircrafts, registration of interests over the aircraft and application of the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Protocol on Matters Specific to Aircraft Finance (Cape Town Convention), enforcement issues.
The principal objective of the Cape Town Convention is the efficient financing of aircraft equipment. Such financing will assist in the development of cost effective air transportation systems utilizing modern aircraft equipment. The Cape Town Convention has been approved in Albania by the Albanian Parliament under the Law no. 9551, dated on 5.6.2006, “For the adherence of the Republic of Albania in the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the its Protocol”. The date of the entry into force as applied to aircraft equipment is 1st February 2008. Furthermore, the Council of the Ministers with the Decision no. 14, dated 7.1.2009, has approved the rules and regulations on procedures for the international registration, in accordance with paragraph (2) of the Article 17 of the Convention. The regulations are in place but implementation is understandably still in its infancy and developments still underway.
The Republic of Albania has made declarations, deposited under the Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters specific to Aircraft Equipment regarding Article XIX, XXX(1), under which the CAA acting through its Aircraft Registry, “shall be the entry point at which information required for registration in respect of airframes or helicopters pertaining to civil aircraft of the Republic of Albania or aircraft to become a civil aircraft of the Republic of Albania shall be transmitted, and in respect of aircraft engines may be transmitted, to the International Registry”. The required information shall be transmitted at the General Directorate of Civil Aviation in accordance with the procedures established under the law in Albania.
Notably Albania has also made a declaration pursuant to Article 54 (2) of the Convention thus it has agreed that all remedies available to the creditor under the Convention and/or Protocol which are not expressed under the relevant provision to require application to the court may be exercised, in accordance with Albania’s law, without leave of the court. Traditionally in Albania enforcement procedures are all conducted through the courts and self-remedy is not a practice supported by the court system (the application of this particular ratified international rule is untested).
Also noteworthy is that Albania has not made any Declaration related to article XIX of the Protocol. Therefore, the Albanian domestic legislation will apply related to the execution of the right to separation.
Pursuant to the international obligations and the Air Code civil aircrafts must be registered with the Albanian Civil Aviation Registry (ACAR). This Civil Aviation Registry is maintained by the CAA. An aircraft is registered with the ACAR only after the deregistration of the civil aircraft from the previous registry i.e. registry of country of origin or any other air registry. If it is a crewed or uncrewed aircraft leased by an Albanian air operator, the lessee is legally required to submit, in the Albanian language and in notarized version, the lease/financial lease agreement, the maintenance works and aircrafts ‘repair agreement and also the air validity certificate issued by the ACAR. Where the civil aircraft is owned by an Albanian air operator the aircraft will be registered in the owner’s name, and if leased by an Albanian air operator the aircraft will be registered under the name of the lessee. The Air Code does enable the Minister of Transport in Albania, upon an agreement with the competent authority of a foreign state, to transfer its responsibility as established under the Chicago Convention for an aircraft registered in Albania (and vice versa).
In order to accelerate its integration process with the EU in the field of Air Transport, Albania has signed in June 2006, the European Common Aviation Area Multilateral Agreement. The agreement foresees the creation of a European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) based on mutual market access to the air transport markets of the Contracting Parties and freedom of establishment, with equal conditions of competition, and respect of the same rules – including in the areas of safety, security, air traffic management, social harmonization and environment. Albania, also has successfully participated in the Aviation Safety & Air Traffic Control Programme financed by EC and managed by EUROCONTROL.
Kalo & Associates has long been a leading law practice in Albania and more recently also in Kosovo. The firm provides a full range of legal services in all commercial and corporate law for foreign, multinational and domestic companies and agencies.
Often a first choice for major international clients (including Fortune 500 companies and some of Fortune 100) from sectors such as banking/finance, aviation, energy, manufacturing, healthcare, commercial property, retail, sports and entertainment, technology and telecom, and transport. The Firm also is a regular advisor for international NGOs and IFIs and foreign embassies that are based in Tirana and Prishtina.
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The Lawyer European Awards (2009) awarded the firm as being the “Highly Commended” law firm in Eastern Europe and Balkans, and a finalist for both the 2010 and 2011 awards.