x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Emirates Airline to restart flights to Libya

Emirates is set to restart flights to Libya after suspending the route due to the political turmoil in the country.

Emirates will soon resume flights to Tripoli. Karim Sahib / AFP
Emirates will soon resume flights to Tripoli. Karim Sahib / AFP
Emirates Airline is to resume its flights to Libya after suspending the route last year as the African country battled with political turmoil and descended into civil war.
The announcement yesterday of the flights to Tripoli came just days after Libya's National Transitional Council handed power over to a political assembly elected in the country's first free poll for more than 40 years.
"We have been closely monitoring the situation in Libya and feel that the time is right to relaunch our services, which will help to support business, international trade and passenger travel to and from Tripoli, as well as strengthening the country's overall infrastructure," said Jean Luc Grillet, the airline's senior vice president of commercial operations for Africa.
Emirates joins Etihad Airways in flying to Tripoli from the UAE, after the Abu Dhabi airline began operations to Libya in January.
Emirates grounded its flights to Tripoli in February last year as the uprising to topple Libya's leader Qaddafi gathered pace.
"In resuming our flights to Tripoli, Emirates is underlining its commitment to Libya at a time when the country is demonstrating its strength and resilience in the face of adversity," said Mr Grillet.
The political transition in Libya from civil war to newly elected assembly has been relatively smooth compared with other countries that were part of the Arab Spring.
Oil output from Libya fell last month but the future looks bright for the sector as the country holds the largest proven oil reserves in Africa, at about 47 billion barrels, ahead of Nigeria with 37 billion. Egypt has only 4.4 billion.
Moreover, OMV, an Austrian oil and gas firm owned in part by Abu Dhabi, last week said it was pumping at 90 per cent of pre-civil war levels in Libya and would return to full production by the end of the year.
Emirates began flying to Tripoli in March 2001. Four weekly flights will now resume to the Libyan capital from October 29, departing from Dubai at 9.25am every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Flights to and from Tripoli will be served by an Airbus A330-200 with 12 first-class, 42 business-class and 183 economy seats, along with 15 tonnes of cargo-carrying capacity.
Emirates currently flies to more than 120 destinations in 74 countries and in the next six months will launch five further routes: to Washington DC; Adelaide; Lyon; Phuket; and Warsaw.
rjones@thenational.ae
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