By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 16 July 2014:
Hundreds of passengers stranded by the closure of Tripoli International Airport are . . .[restrict]to return on flights to Mitiga airbase or via Misrata, the government has promised..
Speaking today at a press conference at the Prime Ministry, a spokesman for the Afriqiyah Holding Company which owns both Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines said that the two carriers would return their passengers currently stuck abroad via flights from Dubai, Istanbul and Amman.
The spokesman claimed that both Misrata and Mitiga as well as Labraq and Tobruk airports were open –although other officials had denied this – and that work was being done to ensure the safety of air traffic controllers. Air traffic staff had refused to go to work at their offices at Tripoli International Airport because of the clashes there and staff at the air traffic centre at Benina Airport in Benghazi, closed but still directing flights in the east of the country, have threatened strike action if more were not done to ensure their safety.
An official from the Transport Ministry said plans were in motion to open airports in Ghadames and Zuwara to international flights to give additional capacity.
He added that the authorities were doing all within their power to bring to justice those who had committed “criminal acts” by attacking Tripoli Airport. He added a committee had been established to assess the damage and would pass their findings on to the Attorney General’s office.
Governmental spokesman Ahmed Al-Amin reiterated the government’s claim that 90 precent of the planes at Tripoli Airport had been damaged in recent firefights. He said any information to the contrary was inaccurate and untrue. However, there is no confirmation of the claim.
The Afriqiyah spokesman said there were currently 20 planes at the airport, 13 belonging to Afriqiyah and seven to Libyan Airlines. He said seven of the planes were so badly damaged that they could not take off.
The General Manager of Afriqiyah said he could see why some people had believed some planes were only slightly damaged but explained that small shrapnel damage could wreak havoc with internal controls and systems.