By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 15 April 2013:
The current ban on Libyan Airlines flying its own aircraft in EU airspace could be lifted within a matter of weeks.
“We went to Brussels last week and discussed the preparation of our final report,” director general of Libya’s Civil Aviation Authority (LYCAA), Captain Nasereddin Shaebelain, told the Libya Herald. “We will submit this during the next fortnight and we are hoping for a positive review,” he added.
“I think that this is going to be a milestone,” Shaebelain said.
The LYCAA has an agreement with the European Commission’s Air Safety Committee, which gives it the authority to re-certify Libyan pilots. If Brussels is satisfied with the LYCAA’s final report, Libyan Airlines will not have to wait until the next Air Safety Committee meeting in June to fly its planes in EU airspace.
Even if the ban is lifted on Libyan Airlines in the next few weeks, it will take longer for fellow state-owned airline Afriqiyah Airways to return to EU skies.
“We expect Libyan Airlines to be completed earlier than Afriqiyah because we started the process with them first,” said Shaebelain. “We still have to discuss a lot of things with Afriqiyah, including safety systems and document processes,” he said.
Head of operations for Afriqiyah Airways in the UK, Alan Mates, told the Libya Herald in December that Afriqiyah is plagued by paperwork problems dating back to 2007.
The airline has also done itself no favours with a bungled flight plan that saw an aircraft routed from Benghazi to Paris refused permission to land on Friday.
A senior airport source has also told the Libya Herald that the European Commission’s Air Safety Committee is not satisfied with the report into the 2010 Afriqiyah crash that left 103 dead and a young boy as the sole survivor.
Submission of the report, which cited pilot error and lack of coordination between the captain and his copilot as the cause, was delayed by the revolution. Finally submitted in February by the LYCAA, the report was critical of a number of Afriqiyah’s procedures.
Both Afriqiyah and Libyan Airlines are currently wet-leasing aircraft and flight-deck staff to service their European routes.