By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis/Tripoli, 5 July 2017:
A contract was signed today between the Tripoli-based transportation ministry and an Italian consortium to rebuild Tripoli International Airport.
There are no details about the consortium, other than that it is called Aeneas Consorzio, although last December transport minister Milad Matoog announced that an Italian company (rather than a consortium) would be given the contract. No names were mentioned at the time either.
A video made by Aeneas and released by the Italian Embassy says that two terminals will be built and claims that the first, the international terminal, will be ready in just ten months. With a footprint of some 21,000 square metres, it is to have a capacity of 4.5 million passengers a year or 1,700 per hour.
According to the transportation ministry, the second terminal, for domestic flights, will be built in the following eight months, making 18 months in total for the project. The domestic terminal is planned to have a capacity of 2.5 million passengers a year or 900 an hour. It would cover 9,000 square metres.
In the video, which appears to have been made by individuals unaware of present-day Libya (it shows Tripoli’s much-missed mermaid statue still in place and unharmed, plus a boat in Tripoli harbour carrying the green flag), it is also claimed the new airport will have “world-class” check-in facilities, with “state of the art” construction and 1,800 parking spaces according to the video. It is to be designed in compliance with the latest international regulations, it said.
Italy’s air navigation service provider ENAV is thought to be involved in coordinating the consortium efforts, but according to one Italian company interested in the airport reconstruction but which is not in the consortium, the Italian authorities are refusing to say who is part of it.
The Italian Embassy did not respond to further questions from the Libya Herald.
Today’s signing was attended by Presidency Council member Mohamed Ammari, Italian ambassador Giuseppe Perrone, a number of members of the House of Representatives and other officials. State Council president Abdulrahman Sewehli was also present for part of the ceremony.
The airport has been closed and largely in ruins since mid-2014 when Misratan-led forces attacked the Zintani units that had occupied it since the Revolution. In February, though, in something of a publicity stunt, would-be prime minister Khalifa Ghwell “reopened” the airport. In fact, the old VIP terminal, which had not been damaged in the 2014 attack, was simply given a slight makeover and declared the new terminal.
The contract for the airport’s reconstruction was originally awarded before the revolution to an international consortium which included Brazil’s Odebrecht, Aeroport de Paris and Turkey’s TAV. It had already carried out a significant amount of the civil engineering works before the revolution. After the revolution it was assured by the new authorities that the contract would be reconfirmed pending a re-evaluation of it.
The consortium partners are thought likely to go to court to contest being replaced.
A subsidiary of ENAV signed a multi-million-dinar contract in March to build a new control tower at Tripoli’s Mitiga airport.