Air Malta today announced its intention to restart a twice-weekly service between Malta and Benghazi as of 29 May . . .[restrict]2012.
The decision was taken following a positive report from the airline’s technical team, which audited the airport on various aspects including flight operations, safety and security, engineering and ground and airport operations.
Although Air Malta has been cleared to resume flights to Benghazi for the past seven months, it has hitherto declined to do so. Upon receiving clearance to restart its service last September, the airline re-opened its sales office in Benghazi, but stressed that it would not re-open the link until visa services were improved.
In a statement released today, Peter Davies, Air Malta’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Benghazi, as the principal city of eastern Libya, is one of Libya’s major economic centres. We have been looking forward to restart operations to Benghazi for the last few months. Our flights will reconnect this city not only to Malta but also to mainland Europe as they are timed to facilitate onward flight connections with other Air Malta services operating to European cities.”
Air Malta’s announcement complements its decision to resume a daily service to Tripoli from today and reflects a growing confidence amongst international airlines about restarting their services in Libya. On 1 May a British Airways flight touched down in Tripoli, restarting the first direct link between the UK and Libya since the revolution began.
However, although an increasing number of European airliners are now flying into Libya, the reverse is not the case. In late March, the Libyan Transport Ministry banned all Libyan flights from travelling to Europe at the request of the EU on account of deep safety concerns, an embargo which still remains in place.