Tripoli, 13 November:
Airbus . . .[restrict]has announced that Afriqiyah Airways has ordered four new Airbus aircraft. The European plane maker’s news was also broken to the General National Congress by visiting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
Afriqiyah had already ordered six 314-seat A350-900 XWB jets. The new order brings the value of the deal up to $2.8 billion at list prices. Significantly, the airline had originally selected the smaller A350-800 model which is scheduled to enter service in 2016. The larger model has a standard range of 17,600 km, 2,200 km more than the -800 versions. All the A350 range has fuselages and wings that are largely made of light-weight carbon fibre-reinforced polymer.
Afriqiyah will start taking delivery of its new airliners in 2017. The Airbus order book for the A350-900 currently stands at 362. Afriqiyah operates entirely with Airbus aeroplanes. At present it only has a short to medium-range fleet, made up of three A319-111s, with an option to purchase five more, six A320-214s (one in storage) with two more on order and two A330-200,s with three more on order. It is also due to start receiving three medium-range A330-300s in the middle of next year.
This April both Afriqiyah and Libyan Airlines were banned from flying to EU destinations, because of serious concerns about “safety oversight”. The ban, which was imposed with the agreement with the interim government, was due to last until at least this month. In order to service some of their EU destinations, both carriers have been “wet-leasing” aircraft, which involves hiring planes complete with flight deck crews.