By Aimen Amzein.
Benghazi, 27 December 2014:
Libyan Wings, the new Libyan airline in the planning for nearly two years, has taken delivery . . .[restrict]of its second Airbus A319. The two Airbuses are for the moment being kept at Malta’s Luqa International Airport, according to a press release issued today in Malta on the company’s behalf, “while the final clearances and approvals are obtained to commence operations out of Tripoli’s Mitiga International Airport”.
“The privately-funded airline, by Libyan investors, will function as a full-service carrier, with the two aircraft configured with both business and economy class seating,” said the release. It added that the carrier initially intended to fly to Middle Eastern and North African destinations but planned to expand to Europe and other places in the Arabian Gulf when it acquired further aircraft.
”We are both delighted and excited at having received the first two aircraft as we embark on the next phase of our launch plans,” said Edgardo Badiali, Libyan Wings’ Chief Executive Officer.
“We are confident of setting a new benchmark for quality of service and customer satisfaction to and from Libya when we commence operations.”
Libyan Wings’ chairman, Wesam Al Masri, has also welcomed the arrival of the new aircraft. “We have invested in modern aircraft that further demonstrates a commitment to innovation and technology while endeavouring to exceed customer expectations in terms of comfort and safety. As we scale, this will be supported on the ground by investments in infrastructure and services at Mitiga in order to enhance all stages of the customer’s travel experience,” he was quoted saying.
“Libyan Wings is now looking forward to leading a new era in Libya’s aviation sector and providing the stimulus for economic growth through the provision of high quality, efficient, safe and affordable air travel for the people of Libya.”
According to the press release, “the carrier is expected to announce its official launch date soon and customers will be able to book flights on-line at www.libyanwings.ly and through their own sales’ offices and appointed travel agents”.
The two aircraft are wet-leased from Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) although they have Libya registrations.
Just over a year ago, Libyan Wing was reported to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the Dubai Air Show with Airbus for seven aircraft – four A320neo jets and three A500-900s worth a total of $1.3 billion. At the time it was said that the carrier launch operations this year, initially with internal and regional flights serviced by two dry-leased A320 aircraft.
Despite the announcement, the airline’s hopes of a launch soon look slim. The government in Beida this week announced a ban on flights out of Mitiga and Misrata. That will put plans to fly to destinations in the Middle East and North Africa on hold. All Arab states, including Qatar, recognise the Beida government and would be highly unlikely to accept flights from the two airports in the circumstances or allow such fights to travel through their airspace.
Despite persistent reports that Libyan Wings is owned by Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, this has never been confirmed. [/restrict]