By Libya Herald reporter.
Benghazi, 6 April 2017:
Benghazi’s Benina Airport, closed since May 2014, has been given permission by the civil aviation authority to partially reopen, although this will not include commercial flights for the time being.
The authority has said that air ambulance, humanitarian, VIP and general cargo flights can now be resumed.
Confirming the announcement, airport director Usama Al-Mansur told the Libya Herald that following reconstruction and upgrading works, everything was now operational at the airport and ready for the restart apart from security scanners. These, though, would be working within the next couple of days, he said.
He also said that Afriqiyah Airways would make its first cargo flight from Benina on Sunday. Last year the airline acquired its first cargo plane, an Airbus 300-600, becoming the only Libyan airline so far to own it own cargo aircraft.
Although the airport closed in 2014, the adjacent military airbase has continued in use, notably to launch attacks on militants’ positions in the city and elsewhere.
Over the past few months there have been numerous rumours that the airport was about to reopen. In February, though, the airport authorities themselves asked the Libyan National Army (LNA) to give it the green light to restart civil flights, saying they believed it was now safe do so.
Today’s announcement is seen as a trial prior to allowing regular civil flights to operate out of Benina again.
The news comes comes only days after Buraq Air announced it had opened a new office in Benghazi.