It seemed like a normal day at Tirana International Airport, as flights were arriving and departing on time. Nothing was out of the norm.
Until something horrifying happened – a gang of gunmen approached an Austrian Airlines Flight OS 848, due to departure to Vienna.
The robbers went straight for the baggage handlers and targeted large bags that were due to be transferred to a bank in Austria.
Apparently, the gunmen got into the airport through a back gate that allowed them to get onto the runway, where an Austrian Airlines Airbus A320 waited for the baggage to be loaded. The criminals were driving a van and pretended to be the tax authorities.
The robbers knew what they were targeting. The exact sum is unknown, but the large bags contained anywhere from 2.5 million to 10 million euros, as it is still unclear how much money the robbers stole.
The robbers escaped the airport, but the police chased them down. In an exchange of fire, police shot and killed one of the perpetrators.
As of now, they are still on the run with the money.
Nevertheless, nor the passengers nor the crew got hurt during the robbery.
An Austrian Airlines spokeswoman, Tanja Gruber has said that “Boarding had just taken place. There was never any danger for crew and passengers.”
The aircraft eventually took off to Vienna. However, it was three hours late. Most importantly, nobody got hurt.
The local police and the local authorities have arrested 4 people. They also questioned 40 more people, as this is not the first time that such an incident has happened in Tirana’s International Airport.
As a precautionary move, Austrian Airlines will not transfer money between Tirana and Vienna on their aircraft anymore.