By Michel Cousins.
Tunis, 7 October 2016:
Afriqiyah Airways has acquired 20 percent of the Aviation Training Center of Tunisia (ATCT) in a deal signed today by Abubaker Elfortia, the airline’s chairman, and Chokri Zarrad, the CEO of Nouvelair, one of the existing stakeholders. He signed on behalf of the others.
The price has not been disclosed although Afriqiyah officials said that it have been “a major investment”. The stake was acquired from two Tunisian banks.
The other shareholders are Tunisair, Airbus and Thales.
The deal will bring a valuable additional income stream to Afriqiyah which has been looking to expand and diversify its income base, particularly at the present with the difficulties in converting Libyan dinars to hard cash.
The deal is also seen as making financial sense in relation to Afriqiyah’s own regular training needs. With ATCT’s two Airbus A320 flight simulators, it will ensure reduced costs for the training of Afriqiyah’s pilots who have to undergo two courses a year, each in two sessions. At present Afriqiyah pilots, as many as 150, are being trained with Lufthansa in Germany.
Today’s official signing was attended by representatives from the Libyan aviation sector and both the GNA Transportation Minister Milad Matouk and his Tunisian counterpart. Both spoke about the importance of the deal and of Libyan-Tunisian cooperation. Earlier in the day Matouk was given a tour of ATCT and a demonstration of one of the flight simulators.