Vlorë

Validation date: 30 12 2012
Updated on: 07 02 2023
Views: 3160
See on the interactive map:


40°28'34"N 019°28'27"E

runway: 16/34 - 857x59m/2813x195ft - concrete 

Vlorë airfield (also spelled as Vlora, Flore or Flora, Italian: Valona ICAO: LAVL) name was an airfield about 100 kilometers south of Tirana.
The airfield was built in the second half of the 1930s as a civilian airfield in the Italian-Albanian domestic air route network.


Clickable map of Ala Littoria's network, showing Vlorë (Valona) airfield in the late 1930s (collection Björn Larsson and David Zekria, via Volker Böhme).

During World War II the airfield was in use with 150°Gruppo (flying CR42s), because that was the reason it was attacked by Blenheims of 30 Sqn of the RAF on 16 March 1941. In 1962 it was the location where the Air Academy was first established.
The base was occupied and largely destroyed by rioters during the 'Lottery Uprising' of 1997. Although the Air Academy was rebuilt, the air base was not. Instead it has been built over with civilian homes. In 2001 the Air Academy merged with the air base at Kuçovë to form the Akademia e Forcave Ajrore (Air Force Academy).

Aerial photography from 2004 and 2007 suggests the runway was used to dump rubble. In some places concrete slabs appear to shine through, indicating it did not have a grass runway as claimed elsewhere on the Internet. Homes were built along the taxiways, which were faintly recognisable. Some hangars and shelters also still existed at the former airfield. Although internet sources do not report the base closed, it is clearly not usable by any aircraft, except helicopters.


Slide of Nanchang CJ-6 trainers in front of the shelters on the north side of Vlorë. Notice that the nationality marking is still with a red star, indicating the photo was taken before 1990 (© Claudio Toselli) 


Undated photo of a young boy playing in front of those same hangars


Vlorë in July 2004 (Google Earth)


Enlargement of a 2010 photo of the airfield found in Wikipedia. You are looking south.
Incredibly enough, Google Streetview and Google maps show that the airfield and the runway are still largely intact, although housing has crept onto parts of the airfield, which is now in the city limits. The runway area is overgrown and certainly not fit for use, but with the exception of the southern tip it is not built over. And while the taxiway has become a street with housing, there is still a (derelict) shelter area with 4 shelters on each side. The Google Streetview car has been on both sides of the compound, but someone or something kept it from photographing the stretch of terrain in between.