By Tom Westcott.
London, 13 November:
A Libyan delegation will argue strongly at the European Commission’s Air Safety Committee next week that eight-month . . .[restrict]old restrictions preventing Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines from flying their own aircraft on European services should now be lifted.
“The case of Libya will be discussed at next week’s Air Safety Committee,” Helen Kearns, spokesman for the European Commission’s communications department told the Libya Herald today. “The Libyan delegation will address the Committee and give an update on the safety oversight situation in Libya and its position in terms of compliance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) provisions following the disruption caused by the Civil War,” she said.
In accordance with the ICAO, in April this year the EU committee stopped Libya’s main state-owned carriers, Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines, from flying to Europe. Flight safety, out-of-date certification for flight-deck crew and engineers and airport security are understood to have been amongst “serious concerns”.
After “intense consultations” between the Libyan civil aviation authorities, the Minister of Transport and the EU, the interim government voluntarily adopted the restrictions. This meant that Libya’s airlines were not added to the list of carriers banned within Europe. The Air Safety Committee did, however, say that it would be closely monitoring the “implementation of the measures decided by the Libyan authorities”.
The restrictions excluded Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines from allowing aircraft piloted by their own staff to fly on EU services, with immediate effect until at least 22 November 2012. Both carriers have since been obliged to wet-lease aircraft wth flight-deck crew to maintain services to some European destinations.
The ‘ban‘ is now due for reassessment. “Based upon the discussions, a decision will be made as to the best way forward,” Kearns explained. “It is too early to give an indication of the result of the meeting, and a lot will depend on what progress the Libyan authorities have made in recovering from the disruption caused by the conflict.” [/restrict]