Albania has awarded Lockheed Martin a $32 million contract to modernise the Balkan nation's airspace system. An interim upgrade is to be operational by May next year, in time to handle the expected 10% increase in overflights associated with the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece.

A full airspace upgrade is to be operational by mid-2006. It is expected to "more than double" airspace capacity. Current capacity is limited by the equipment in use, Lockheed Martin's estimate of the savings for airlines from flying over, rather than around, Albanian airspace is $100 million over 10 years, says project director Pat Buckley.

The next major commercial agreement expected to be signed is the contract to operate and improve the airport at the capital Tirana. A request for tenders was issued last week, and German and UK companies are among those interested.

Source: Flight International