By Libya Herald reporter.
Malta, 25 January 2015:
Libya’s state-owned Afriqiyah airliner successfully resumed its flights to a European destination yesterday by flying . . .[restrict]to Dusseldorf from Tripoli’s Mitiga airport. The flight ends a six month EU ban on flights from Libya.
It is not clear why, after much delay, the EU has eventually given clearance to Afriqiyah craft to serve a European destination.
The flight was served using the European registered Airbus A-320, wet-leased by Afriqiyah from a Georgian company.
The weekly Dusseldorf flight will be every Saturday, but Afriqiyah says that it is ready to increase flights if there is more demand. Prices vary according to dates and demand, but economy seats are about LD 834 return.
A source told Libya Herald that there were 17 passengers from Mitiga to Dusseldorf, and only seven on the return leg. The maiden flight was reported by another source as comfortable but about 45 minutes late.
There is now speculation as to whether the EU airspace ban on Libyan registered aircraft has been finally rendered obsolete by Afriqiyah circumventing it through the re-registration of its aircraft in Eire and the leasing of EU-registered aircraft.
The by-passing of the EU-ban by Afriqiyah will set a precedent for the other Libyan owned/registered airliners such as Libyan Airlines, Ghadames Air and Buraq Air to re-register their aircraft abroad and commence flying to mainland Europe.
Flights could also, presumably depart from other Libyan airports such as Misrata,
At the beginning of last week, Ghadames Air, for example, had announced that it had obtained clearance to commence flights from Mitiga to Malta on Thursday. The flight never materialized.
Sources informed Libya Herald that Medavia, the Maltese registered airliner currently monopolizing the Malta-Tripoli route, had objected strongly to the move, and Ghadames’s clearance to fly to Malta never materialized.
Medavia, charges an eye-watering Euro 500 one way for its ‘’evacuation’’ flights between Malta and Tripoli – more than Afriqiyah’s flights to Istanbul, Amman or Dusseldorf. The opening up of the Tripoli-Malta route to Libyan airliners would make the price of tickets more competitive.
Attempts to obtain a comment or feedback from the Maltese Civil Aviation Authority have been unsuccessful. They acknowledge receipt of Libya Herald’s communications, promise to reply, but no reply has materialized a week later.
Afriqiyah plans to relaunch its Rome route in the next few days. [/restrict]