By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 4 May 2015:
Air Malta is reviewing a deal to work with Libyan cargo company Global Aviation and . . .[restrict]Services Group, which has been accused by the UN of being involved in gun-running to Libya.
Last Thursday, the Maltese airline announced an “interline” agreement to ship cargo to Ostend Airport from which Global runs a weekly cargo flight to Misrata and Mitiga. The arrangement is for Air Malta to carry libya-bounde cargo on its flights from Luqa to Brussels and Amsterdam. The consignments would then be dispatched by road to Ostend where to be flown by Global to Libya on its leased white 747 Jumbo air-freighter.
Last week Air Malta’s cargo chief, Manuel Agius, said that since the carrier could not currently itself fly to Libya, it believed that the Global Aviation deal would allow it to support both Libya and Malta.
It appears that Air Malta was unaware when it cut the deal that Global Aviation had been accused by the UN Security Council of gun-running. The company told the Libya Herald today that it was consulting its lawyers and was monitoring the situation.
It stressed: “Air Malta’s involvement with Global Aviation Group is only through a standard airline interline agreement for carriage of cargo only from Malta to Libya via their Ostend (EU country) operation”. This it added was within international standards and regulations, including those of customs.
Global Aviation and Services Group is being currently being investigated by UN inspectors for breaches of Libya’s arms embargo.
In their report to the UN Security Council in January, the UN’s panel of experts inspectors detailed two alleged violations.
The first was a contract for 5,000 pistols and 1 million rounds of ammunition from Caracal, a firm in UAE, signed by a representative of Libya’s Interior ministry in December 2012.
In February 2014, the Libyan embassy in the UAE reported that the Interior Ministry in fact knew nothing about the deal and said it should be cancelled.
“A first batch of 1,500 pistols had already been transferred to the Supreme Security Committee in Mitiga,” the panel wrote in its January report to the UN. “The air waybill was issued by Global Aviation and Services Group, a company registered in Libya. In November 2014 Armament Research Services documented a Caracal F pistol used by the owner of a jewellery shop in Tripoli who purchased it from a Supreme Security Committee officer for $4,000.”
The panel reported on a second alleged violation involving flights by a Pakistan registered plane from Belgium and the UAE to Libya.
“In September 2014, the Panel also received an allegation regarding deliveries of military material by chartered aircraft, operated by a company registered in Pakistan, between Belgium and the United Arab Emirates, to various airports in Libya, including those controlled by Fajr-aligned groups. The Libyan-based handing company was Global Aviation, a company that has previously breached the arms embargo.”
Last October, Global Aviation’s European partner, Strike Aviation, said a 747 cargo jumbo jet leased from a Pakistan company had resumed flights from Ostend in Belgium to Tripoli’s Mitiga airport.
Strike Aviation’s Julia Ostwaldt told freight magazine Loadstar that cargo being shipped included hospital machinery, pharmaceutical products, pigeons and doves and that there were also requests to fly in horses.
Correction: in an earlier edition of this story, we erroneously reported that Global was a Pakistani company. Founded in 2003, privately-0wned Global Aviation and Service Group is Libyan. We apologise for the error. [/restrict]