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Airtimes and fares are expected to fall on flights to and from Kosovo after NATO decided to hand control of Kosovo airspace to Hungary.
Kosovo’s upper airspace –above 10,000 feet – has been controlled by NATO since the conflict of 1999, and civilian aircrafts banned from it.
The Council of NATO ruled last month to temporarily delegate the role of running the airspace to Hungary’s HungaroControl, the privately owned firm which is responsible for the job in Hungary.
“This will shorten further flight paths to Pristina and will lower the cost of operations, something that consequently might be positively reflected in the lowering of prices of tickets” said Dritan Gjonbalaj, general director of the Civil Aviation Authority in Kosovo.
“The shortening of airspace routes will have positive impact in protecting the environment too from the point of view fuel exhaust emission of airplanes.”
Albania, Macedonia, Italy, Austria and Serbia applied to run the space, but it was HungaroControl which was awarded the job.
Control of lower level airspace will remain with Pristina Internation Airport.
“The upper airspace of Kosovo has been a grey area on the European map for overflying commercial planes,” said Gjonbalaj.
HungaroControl is expected to start work from spring 2013.
Currently planes flying to and from Pristina International Airport are unable to use Serbian airspace as Belgrade deems that the airport is closed, as it doesn't recognise Kosovo’s independence.
The CAA said that it is carrying out the technical preparations to open new corridors in low airspace entering from Albania and Montenegro as all flights currently pass through a corridor connected with Macedonia.
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