By Libya Herald journalist.
Tunis, 5 March 2015:
The on-off restrictions on the Libyan aviation sector caused by the various political and security instability . . .[restrict]in the country since the 2011 revolution is leading to annual losses in the sector of over US$ 250 million, the pro House of Representatives LANA state agency reports.
The report says that five Libyan aviation companies (the Libyan-Afriqiyah Aviation Holding Company, Afriqiyah Airlines, Libyan Airlines and the Libyan Ground Services Company) said that the continuation of the restrictions on their operations, such as the EU ban on Libyan-registered aircraft from entering EU airspace and resultant longer routes taken to avoid EU airspace, could lead to them ceasing operations.
The companies also complained that they were receiving no support and that the lack of expansion and development at Mitga airport and the lack of maintenance of Tripoli International Airport, as well as other airports, has led to a poor level of service and delays in numerous flights.
It will be recalled that the EU had imposed an airspace ban on Libyan registered aircraft in November 2014 for safety reasons. This move prohibits Libyan registered aircraft from landing in EU airports and has forced Libyan aviation companies to incur additional costs by flying longer routes to Istanbul, for example, in order to avoid EU airspace over Cyprus and Greece.
Libyan registered and operated aircraft currently fly to Casablanca, Tunis, Alexandria, Amman Istanbul and Niamey. The Maltese registered Medavia company operates flights to and from Malta.
The EU airspace ban has also forced airliners such as Afriqiyah to wet lease planes from European companies in countries such as Georgia and to register their craft in Eire – all incurring additional costs.
It will be recalled that since the 2011 Libyan revolution the weakened state security apparatus has failed to impose security in Libya and its two main airports in the capital which have been under the control of various militias.
In July 2014 the pro GNC Misrata-led Libya Dawn militias attacked the pro House of Representatives Zintani-led militias in Tripoli and at Tripoli International Airport causing major damage to aircraft and the airport. The airport has been closed since and the smaller inferior Mitiga airport has been acting as Tripoli’s main airport since. [/restrict]