Direct flights from Tripoli to Rome will start this Saturday, MedSky Airlines announced yesterday.
Flights will be twice weekly, every Saturday and Wednesday.
It will be recalled that direct flights between Tripoli and Rome were expected by September. On 9 July, Tripoli-based Libyan prime minister, Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba, tweeted on his personal account that ‘‘The Italian government informed us of its decision to lift its 10-year-old air ban on Libyan civil aviation, and flights will resume next September’’.
Indeed, a source had told Libya Herald that flights could resume much earlier than September if the Libyan side fulfils certain preconditions earlier. The source did not reveal these preconditions.
The tweet by Aldabaiba had followed on from a meeting on 9 July in Tripoli between the president of Italy’s civil aviation authority (ENACO), Pierluigi Di Palma, and the ambassador of Italy, Gianluca Alberini, with the Libyan Minister of State, Walid al Lafi, and the president of the Libyan Civil Aviation Authority, Mohamed Shlebik. Lafi heads the committee formed by Prime Minister Aldabaiba tasked with lifting the air ban on Libya.
Reporting on the meeting, the Libyan government had said flights will resume ‘‘after completing the technical and security requirements’’.
It had revealed that ‘‘The two sides agreed to conclude an agreement and a memorandum of understanding, reopen the airspace between the two countries, and choose a Libyan and Italian air carriers to resume flights to and from Italy no later than next August, provided that the first direct commercial flights from Libya to Italy take off next September.
It also reported that Ambassador Alberini, ‘‘affirmed his country’s determination to continue cooperating with the Government of National Unity to facilitate the lifting of the embargo imposed on Libya over European airspace in general’’.
The Italian Embassy in Tripoli reported that the parties “discussed the upcoming restart of direct flights and the strengthening of collaboration. The close Italian-Libyan partnership on the civil aviation dossier is confirmed”.
This was further confirmed during the meeting in Tripoli between PM Aldabaiba and Italian Ambassador to Tripoli on 12 July, where the Libyan government quoted Alberini as saying ‘‘Alberini explained to the Prime Minister the efforts of the Italian embassy to increase the number of proposed visas (to Libyans), and to complete the efforts of the two countries to open the airspace, which will start next September’’.