After a decade at the helm of the Municipality of Korça, and as he aimed for the final term in the local elections on 14th of May, Sotiraq Filo brought out from the drawers of promises the construction of the Touristic and Sports Airport in Korça.” Filo promised during the campaing that the airport would be a tangible reality soon. Faktoje’s verifications indicate that airport construction, valued at EUR 1.1 million, will require at least two years.
“… Construction of the airport will soon be a tangible reality that will give a significant boost to the development of regional tourism and adventure sports.’’, promised, Sotiraq Filo, the Socialist Party candidate, on the eve of the local elections on 14th of May, winner of the third mandate for the Mayor of Korça Municipality.
The post dated on 8th of May 2023 is accompanied by a 3D video showing how the Touristic and Sports Airport in Korça will look like. The video has received hundreds of reactions from followers of the Mayor of Korça in his official profie in Facebook.
Coming soon, but when?
On 13th of September, we addressed a request for information to Korça Municipality regarding the progress of this major project, which, according to Mayor Sotiraq Filo, would be completed soon.
The request addressed to Korça Municipality regarding the Airport
However, our questions did not receive exhausting answers from Korça Municipality. The institution says that Airport construction works are is still ongoing acknowledging that the deadline for completing this project is 18 months from their begining.”
‘According to the data obtained from the Directorate of Planning and Control of Territorial Development, work on the tourist-sports airport is still ongoing. The value of this project is 99,999,999 ALL. This project is financed by State Inspectorate for Territorial Planning and completion deadline is 18 months from begining of the works.’, it is written in the Municipality’s response.
The project, valued EUR 1.1 million (including VAT), is financed by Albanian Development Fund. ADF states to Faktoje wors are currently underway on the construction of the administration building, the fire station, the observation tower, and the aircraft hangars that will fly there.
“Regarding the tourist-sports aiport in Korça, with a total value of 112,285,296 ALL, including VAT, we inform you that works for its implementation have started on04.07.2023 and construction is underway for the administration building, fire station, observation tower, and aircraft hangars that will fly there.”,ADF writes following the request for information.
The Albanian Development Fund states that airport construction will take two years, 6 months longer than what Korça Municipality declares.
“Furthermore, work is expected to begin on the parking area and in the oil storage area. Deadline for completion of works is 24 months from their start, ADF confirms.
Alket Islami, from the Aeronautics Association, sees the implementation of this project with great interest.
At sports level, there are possibilities for carrying out many air sports activities such as ballooning, ultralight paragliding, aeromodeling, etc. At tourist level, it is a very important gateway throughout the year with tourists coming by small planes. This airport will also serve for various national emergencies, with the base for the necessary resources for these operations”,Islami states for Faktoje.
On-site fact checking
On 26th of October, Faktoje traveled to Korça to closely observe the progress of this project The airport is being constructed only 7.5 km away from Korça, in Lumalas village.
Lumalas, 26th of October
The area was surrounded by a fence with a net, and the land surface was leveled. From a certain distance, we could distingush a two-story building still under construction, a yellow excavator, and some small signaling signs. These were the only distinctive signs of the work in Lumalas on Thursday, of 26th of October.
Lumalas, 26th of October
On-site verification shows that airport construction works are far away form loking like the ones in the 3D video promised by Filo before the elections.
‘It will be an airport for primarily tourist and sports flights, with a grass runway where planes of up to 12 seats can land. It’s a project that will allow us to organize many activities here.’, Filo expressed in August of 2022, promising that first flights from the aeroport would start in the fall of the same year.
However, this is not the only broken promise of this project. For a decade, at the helm of Korça Municipality, Sotiraq Filo has recycled the same promise in at least two election cycles. The only difference with 2019 election is that for the local elections of 14th of May, Filo presented the citizens with a 3D Airport project.
3D video published by Mayor of Korça Municipality
Based on the information gathered and on the on-site verifications, we categorize the promise made by the Mayor of Korça Municipality, Sotiraq Filo, that the airport would soon be a tangible reality as unfulfilled
*”Faktoje, supported by National Endowment Democracy (NED) is monitoring 10 municipalities and is verifying if promises made by Mayors are fulfilled or not.