By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 19 July 2013:
Despite high hopes that state airlines Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines would be flying their own aircraft in EU skies this summer, the current flight ban is set to remain in place until the end of the year.
“We have not finished the recertification process,” Director General of Libya’s Civil Aviation Authority (LYCAA), Captain Nasereddin Shaebelain, told the Libya Herald. “It is taking longer than it should, because we need to make sure that everything is in accordance with European standards.”
Shaebelain headed a LYCAA delegation at the recent European Air Safety Committee meeting in Brussels. There, representatives gave a presentation outlining progress made to date with getting Libyan pilots and crew retrained and re-certified.
“This was very much accepted,” Shaebelain said, “they were happy with the whole presentation, even though there are still questions about when the airlines will be ready.” He added that the EU were pleased with the progress Libya had made so far.
“Consultations were held with the civil aviation authorities of Libya,” the EU Air Safety Committee said: “Progress was noted by the Committee, but the LYCAA agreed to maintain the voluntary restrictions applicable to all airlines licensed in Libya.”
The LYCAA opted for voluntary restrictions on Libyan EU flights to avoid being given an official ban. These restrictions are set to remain in place until flight-deck crew for both airlines are fully re-certified. The EU Air Safety Committee said it would continue to closely monitor the ongoing implementation of these measures.
“The LYCAA is keen to take its time, to ensure the correct standards are met,” Shaebelain said: “We are hopeful we will finish this before the end of the year.”
Until then, both Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines will continue to service their European routes with wet-leased aircraft and flight-deck crew.
The next Air Safety Committee meeting will be held in November.