ISTANBUL: JULY 10, 2017. M. ─░lker Ayci, chairman of Turkish Airlines, said the expected downsizing of Italian airline services to Albania creates a "high business case" for a strategic partnership with a new Albanian airline.

AlbaniaAyci met with the Albanian prime minister Edi Rama in Istanbul this week to discuss Turkish Airlines' continued support for the planned launch of a new 'Albanian Airlines' later this year.

Rama commented: "We highly value this strategic partnership aiming to effectively unite the huge potential Albania has to grow thorough out the aviation sector and the global know-how of Turkish Airlines."

"The kick off this partnership although will be in a smaller scale, yet we do [expect] that it will expand in due course in line with market conditions," he added.

Ayci said the Albanian government had set a high priority to develop civil aviation in the country as a lever for growth: "Currently there are no Albanian airlines. Hence Mr. Edi Rama, through such active leadership, has been working on the establishment of Albanian Airlines that will connect Albania to the region and to the globe."

Following a meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May, Rama said the new airline project had strong support from the Turkish government and it would have "a clear vision of everything" in the next three months.

Pictured: Albania prime minister Edi Rama (left) and Turkish Airlines' chairman M. ─░lker Ayci.