Residents of Shtiqni village in Kukës threaten to block Kukësi airport if the government and the concessionaire do not compensate them to the market value of their land taken for the purpose of runway expansion.

The offered values are considered by them to be "ridiculous", and as such they ask for entitlement based on certificates of ownership and court decisions.

“We are the rightful owners of Kukësi Airport and have not taken any expropriation measures.

“They give us 195 lekë per square meter of land and call this ridiculous price compensation. We require a minimum of 10-15 euro per square meter,” said the residents.

Residents blocked work at the airport for several hours yesterday as a warning to the concessionaire and the government that their patience for awaiting a peaceful solution is coming to an end.

However, residents do have the support of Mayor Safet Gjici, who says he has begun negotiations with the government to review the value.

“I believe there will be a solution between the government, the concessionaire and the legal owners of the land,” said Gjici.

Kukësi Airport has been identified as one of the strategically qualified investments in the Kukës Region.

Construction of the project should be completed within two years and envisions an extension by 500 meters to the east side, affecting properties legally owned by residents of Shtiqni.