Tripoli, 21 July 2013:
Last Wednesday (17th July) state owned Libyan Airlines received the latest delivery of its new Airbus A330-200.
Yesterday, Libya Herald was invited on board the new craft for a short celebratory flight over Tripoli along with a small group of VIP guests which included, the Minister of Transport Abdulgader Ahmed, Khaled Ben Alewa, CEO of Libyan Airlines and Nasereddin Shaebelain, head of Libya’s Civil Aviation Authority.
The modern Airbus A330-200 craft takes 24 business and 235 economy passengers and is expected to be used on medium to long haul flights, regulators permitting. Libyan Airlines already operates seven A320s and now two A330’s have arrived recently, with a final one expected in 2014. There is also a further four A350’s expected by the end of 2014.
During the short, low altitude flight over Tripoli from Maetiga Airport, Libyan Airlines CEO Khaled Ben Alewa understandably enthused over his latest delivery.
“Thirteen hours can go to South Africa, North America or China”, he explained referring to the A320-200’s long haul capabilities. “It has a wide body and business class can take 24 passengers”, he added, referring to its wide bodied 2-4-2 economy seating configuration which gives it an increased passenger capacity.
“It is equipped with the latest technology and entertainment”, he said as he gestured to the entertainment screens in front of us. “You can make phone calls and use the internet from your seat”, he added.
Asked what the significance of this craft to the airline would be, the Libyan Airline CEO said that the company “hopes to return to destinations such as Dubai. We hope to start with 5 flights per week then maybe daily between Tripoli and Benghazi. We also hope to start some new destinations which are currently under study”, said Ben Alewa, hinting at leaked news in Tunisian media of plans to fly to Canada in conjunction with Tunisair.
“These two Airbuses (another was received the previous month) will make up for the two airbuses we lost during the revolution”, he said, referring to the two Airbuses that were destroyed during the 2011 Revolution.
“Their loss has made us lose destinations such as Cairo, Casablanca and Istanbul. The other A330 has been used to fly pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. I expect this Airbus will start work next week”, concluded the CEO of Libyan Airlines.