Aviation News

January 24, 2012

British Airways and Qatar Airways Announce Resumption of Flights to Tripoli

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British Airways plans to continue flights to the Libyan capital of Tripoli this spring, while Qatar Airways will resume flights even sooner, both airlines announced Monday. Flights were suspended in February 2011 as a result of the country’s civil war.

British Airways Airbus A319 G-EUPX on final for Hamburg

British Airways Airbus A319 (G-EUPX) on final for Hamburg. (Photo by daspaddy, via Flickr)

British Airways said it decided to resume flights between London Heathrow Airport and Tripoli International Airport following a “thorough security review” in conjunction with the British and Libyan governments. The flights, three times a week, are set to resume on May 1st.

Qatar Airways, which already restarted flights to the Libyan port city of Benghazi on November 1st, will relaunch service to Tripoli three times weekly from Doha via Alexandria, Egypt, on February 1st.

“We are delighted to be returning to Libya,” said Keith Williams, CEO of British Airways. “Our flights to Tripoli have provided a vital economic link for many years, and it is good news for everyone that we can now restart operations.”

“Libya is an important market for us and it was unfortunate that unfolding events there had affected operations on safety grounds of all airlines flying to the country,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker. “We are delighted to be going back to Tripoli shortly and provide and help revive the much-needed air transport system in the country after the difficulties of the past few months.”

Both carriers will operate their respective routes using Airbus A320 jets.

All international airline service was essentially halted in Libya in February 2011 as Libyan government forces launched a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters and rebels, leading to a UN-sanctioned no-fly zone which closed all civilian airports in the North African nation from March 2011 until October 2011.

The eight-month-long civil war, which claimed more than 25,000 lives, came to an end in late October when rebels captured Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as he tried to flee his hometown Sirte. Gaddafi, who led Libya for more than 30 years, was eventually shot dead although the exact circumstances surrounding the death remain unclear.

Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC), led by the former rebels, assumed control of the country after Gaddafi’s regime was toppled. The council appointed Abdurrahim El-Keib as interim prime minister to lead Libya until nationwide elections have taken place.

With additional reporting by NYCAviation