By Aimen Amzein.
Benghazi, 19 November 2015:
Libya is to have another new airline, its sixth, despite the fact that the number of . . .[restrict]international destinations to which Libyan airlines can fly, either legally or profitably, is becoming fewer.
The new airline, Free Falcon Air, plans to start operations early next year. It will be headquartered at Beida, using Labraq as well as Zintan airports as its hubs. Owned by Benghazi businessman Fathi Faraj Omar, the company was set up in September with a capital of LD 15 million, according to its CEO, Captain Seraj Busetta. There was no money from outside the country and it is a purely commercial operation, he told the Libya Herald.
It had already purchased one aircraft, a Boeing 737, and was currently negotiating the lease of another, he added. As to destinations, it would initially operate a Zintan-Labraq service plus fights from both places to Tunis, Amman and Alexandria.
The airline had opened an office at Labraq, Busetta said and was currently recruiting staff. Pilots would be Libyan and foreign, he explained, while cabin staff would be a mixture of Libyans and Moroccans.
An advertising campaign would start shortly, he added, and, as part of its commercial approach, the carrier would launch its own rewards programme.
As yet, however, it does not appear to have been given an airline code by IATA.
The most recent carrier to take to the Libyan skies is Libyan Wings. Owned by Libyan businessman Wissam Al-Masri but widely believed to also involve Abdulhakim Belhaj and Qatari money, it started operations in September with flights to Istanbul, at the time the Number 1 destination from Libya.
The introduction of visas for Libyans by Turkey changed that, however, with the number of flights from Mitiga to Istanbul falling from seven a day to one or two. Tunis is now the main international destination with some eight flights a day from Mitiga and other from Misrata, Labraq and Tobruk.