Albania postpones obsolete aircraft auction

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Albania's Defense Ministry says it is postponing the auction of 40 obsolete military aircraft to reconsider the starting bids, following significantly increased interest from museums and collectors from several countries.

The army will sell 36 Soviet or Chinese-made Yak-18s, MiG-15, MiG-17, MiG-19, MiG-21 jets and four Mi-4 transport helicopters dating mostly to the 1950s but unused at least in the last decade, first setting the starting bids at 1.1-1.9 million leks ($8,600-$14,800).

Ministry spokeswoman Edlira Prendi said Wednesday that the Feb. 22 auction is postponed and a new date will be announced soon.

The former Communist country joined NATO in 2009, and is modernizing its weaponry. Founded in 1951, Albania's air force currently consists of helicopters.