Flights between Hania on the Greek island of Crete and Benghazi are expected to start soon, eKathimerini.com reports.
The Greek publication reports that ‘‘the last very important steps that were pending have been completed’’. The flights will be conducted by Sky Express.
It reports that the main pending steps was the certification of the ability of Benghazi’s airport to host flights from a European Union country.
It added that the initiative, which carries significant geopolitical clout (Turkey is aligned with Tripoli while Greece and Egypt have good relations with eastern Libya too), was spearheaded by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Economic Diplomacy and Openness Kostas Fragogiannis over the past few months.
The publication reports that the business risk has been undertaken by Sky Express, which will operate flights with ATR 42-500, ATR 72-500 and ATR 72-600 propeller aircraft.
It added that the company conducted an on-site inspection of Benina’s airport facilities, security procedures and air traffic facilities in May. At the time it had been thought that discussions were about opening direct flights to Athens on mainland Greece not the island of Crete.
Safety standards are on par with those of the European Union?
After that, the company’s executives submitted a risk assessment report to the Civil Aviation Authority (APA). Encouragingly for Libya, the publication reported that ‘‘In general, it is considered that the safety standards are on par with those of the European Union.’’
Benghazi’s Benina airport’s radio systems not up to standard
The second element observed by the company’s envoys is that Benghazi’s Benina airport’s radio systems are not up to standard, making night flights or flights in adverse weather conditions prohibitive.
Following this, the company applied for licensing for daily flights with visual flight rules, which is expected to be granted.