By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 9 May 2014:
After being closed for over four months because of a security crisis resulting from both . . .[restrict]communal clashes and an attempt by Qaddafi loyalists to seize the town, Sebha airport was formally reopened Thursday. In an event attended by Deputy Prime Minister Abdulsalam Al-Gadi, the airport was officially declared open after changes to improve its administration and security were made. Cargo and private flights are now operating. Scheduled passenger flights, however, have not restarted.
The airport had closed after tribal clashes broke out in Sebha earlier this year. During the clashes missiles fell in areas near the airport, disrupting flights. The airport is in an area that is considered disputed land between fighting tribes.
Back at the end of January, local officials were confidently predicting that it would be reopened within days. That it did not was in no small part due to airport management insisting that the airport and its immediate vicinity be secured before flights restarted.
The military authorities, mainly in the form of the Third Forces from Misrata took their time. However, protests eleven days ago by airport employees and security staff and members of the local passport office who demanded the military secure the area appear to have rapidly changed minds.
The closure of the airport had made life extremely difficult for those travelling and great distance to and from Sebha. Until the reopening, the nearest operational airport was at Obari, 180 kilometres away. [/restrict]