AP News

Hundreds grounded in Albania as flights halted

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Hundreds of travelers have been stranded at the international airport of Tirana, Albania, and in neighboring countries after Belle Air, Albania's main carrier, suspended operations there.

Albanian economy minister Arben Ahmetaj said Monday that Belle Air, which is based in Italy, owes tax authorities 4.8 million euros ($6.5 million). The company covers over 50 percent of flights to and from Albania.

Fifteen flights were suspended Monday.

A company statement says its bank accounts in Albania have been frozen and it has started a process of restructuring with a view to resuming operations. It added it's working with other airlines to transport stranded passengers.

Albanian media reported that Belle Air has applied for bankruptcy procedures.

Company officials in Albania and Italy were unavailable for comment.

Twelve other airlines operate in Albania.

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