By Olfa Andolsi.
Tunis, 2 November 2017:
Troubled Sebha airport, which was finally closed two and a half years ago after repeated violence disrupted flights and damaged the terminal building, is due to reopen in a week, Presidency Council deputy head Ahmed Maetig has said.
Last week Maetig was assured by the Government of National Accord transport minister Milad Matou that the airport was ready to restart operations. The interior ministry also confirmed that new security measures were in place. However, it added the caveat that local communities had to behave responsibly. In 2014, one of the airport’s several closures was forced by fighting between Tebus and Awlad Suleiman tribesmen. In 2012 an Afriqiyah pilot had to abort a landing at the last minute in the face of gunfire, apparently from wedding celebrations nearby.
In August management predicted the airport would reopen after Eid but said it was waiting for Libyan Airlines and Afriqiyah to confirm they would being flying in to Sebha. The Libyan Airports Authority has called publicly for them to return to the airport. However, it also said that initially movements would only be allowed during daylight hours.
Until Sebha reopens, passengers are still obliged to travel 60 kilometres north to Al-Shatti or 175 kilometres west to Obari. It was not possible to contact either Libyan Airlines or Afriqiyah to learn their plans.