Europe

Albania auctions off 40 communist-era aircraft

Archive photo of Mig aircraft on display in Tirana's Arms Museum Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mig planes were once a vital part of Albania's air force

Albania is to auction off some 40 military aircraft and helicopters that date back to the communist era.

The defence ministry said the aircraft, all of it made by the Soviet Union or China, would go under auction in the capital Tirana on 22 February.

The ministry said all the aircraft would be of "historic" value only, and "for a civilian purpose".

Various museums and private collectors had expressed an interest, a ministry spokeswoman told the AFP news agency.

Image caption Albania's defence ministry said the aircraft were for "historic" value only
Image caption Items for sale included four Mi-4 helicopters

Edlira Prendi said that although the overall auction value had been put at about 440,000 euros ($483,000), each aircraft could be sold individually.

The items for sale include 10 Mig-19s, six Mig-21s, six Yak-18s and four Mi-4 helicopters.

Ms Prendi said they had received expressions of interest from Greece, Germany, France and the United States, AFP reports.

Albania was a Stalinist state for nearly 50 years until its transition to democracy after 1990.

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