Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza, airport, heist, steal, robbers, crime, gunfire, Austrian Airlines, Vienna, banks, Albania, crime, gang, armed, million, euros
Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza (photo: Invest in Albania)

Gunfire in Tirana as cash is stolen from Austrian plane

In a daring airport heist in Albania, armed criminals steal millions of euros from a plane after passengers have boarded.

Four people have been arrested and one man has been killed in an exchange of fire during a runway heist at Tirana’s Mother Teresa Airport, the Agence France-Presse news agency reports.

The incident occurred yesterday when armed men broke out onto the runway of the airport in the Albanian capital and stole millions of euros from an Austrian Airlines plane.

It is the third time in three years that criminals have staged such a heist at the airport.

The money was being loaded into the aircraft as it was due to be transported to a bank in Vienna.

International banks operating in Albania regularly send their hard currency to Austria because Albania’s central bank does not accept such deposits.

€12 million
Three armed robbers dressed in military outfits entered the runway via a gate used by firefighters.

They threatened the baggage handlers and then ran off with the loot, but one of the gunmen was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police.

Reports vary widely on the amount stolen, a sum that was initially thought to be €2.5 million but could be in excess of €12 million.

“Boarding had just taken place. There was never any danger for crew and passengers,” said Austrian Airlines spokeswoman Tanja Gruber.

Departure was delayed by nearly three hours. It is the last time cash will be transferred from Tirana to Vienna on an Austrian Airlines, Gruber pledged.

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