Tripoli, 19 April:
Libyan Airlines was due to restart flights today to and from Malta after wet-leasing an Airbus A320 aircraft from Tunisian private airline Nouvelair.
Libya last month volunteered to suspend its European operations, thus avoiding its two carriers being placed on the latest blacklist issued by European Commission’s Aviation Safety Committee. It did so over problems over up-to-date certification of Libyan aircraft, pilots and mechanics. Although much of the two airlines’ fleets are relatively new, certification was not maintained during last year’s revolution or has been lost.
Wet-leasing allows Libyan Airlines to rent aircraft that come complete with crew and maintenance.
Flights between Malta and Tripoli will initially be twice-weekly, on Monday and Thursday.
The development comes against the background of fast growing traffic between Libyan and Malta. Yesterday, Wednesday, Air Malta added a sixth weekly flight between Malta and Tripoli, and as of Friday, May 4, will add another to create a daily service.
Libya Airlines plans to wet-lease a second Airbus from Nouvelair in order to double the number of flights two and from Malta. There are also plans to introduce a cargo service between the two destinations.
The airline is also looking at wet-leasing other aircraft to enable it to fly to Rome, Athens and Manchester where there is a significant expatriate Libyan community.
The problems over Libyan air certification are not expected to be resolved until November at the earliest.