Wednesday, April 17, 2013

■ LIBYA: Libyan Airlines confident of resuming own EU flights in future as Afriqiyah's chances take a tumble.

Libyan Airlines logoLibyan Airlines (LN)'s ban on operating its own aircraft into the European Union could be lifted with a matter of weeks should the European Commission accept a Afriqiyahfinal report submitted by the carrier. It could be a different case for sister airline Afriqiyah (8U) whose own efforts to be struck off the infamous No-Fly list suffered a set back on Friday after one of its flights to Paris was turned back due to incorrect paperwork.

The Libyan Civil Aviation Authority (LYCAA) has an agreement with the EC's Air Safety Committee giving it the authority to re-certify Libyan pilots. If Brussels is satisfied with the LYCAA’s final report, Libyan Airlines will not have to wait until the next Air Safety Committee meeting in June to fly its planes in EU airspace.
We went to Brussels last week and discussed the preparation of our final report,” director general of Libya’s Civil Aviation Authority (LYCAA), Captain Nasereddin Shaebelain, told the Libya Herald. “We will submit this during the next fortnight and we are hoping for a positive review,” he added.
Source [Libyan Herald]
As part of efforts to improve the airline's overall standards, Libyan Airlines has been sending its pilots for retraining with Lufthansa (LH), where standards are said to be "much stricter."

Meanwhile, Afriqiyah suffered a set back when a documentation error resulted in an Afriqiyah flight from Benghazi to Paris on Friday being refused permission to land in France. The Libyan carrier wet-leases an Air Moldova (9U) A320 (MSN 741 | ER-AXP) in order to fly to the EU. However, problems arose when the aircraft entered Swiss airspace:
Air Moldova A320 ER-AXP (inter)
However, a French official has told the Libya Herald that problems started when the plane overflew Switzerland, in an apparent diversion from the flight plan. “The Swiss got in touch with France,” he said, “to say that there was an illegal Afriqiyah flight heading towards France.

This prompted Paris to check the flight’s documentation, which was described as “badly done.” Deciding that the flight had undertaken an “unauthorised flight path,” French air traffic control refused to let the Afriqiyah aircraft land in the country.

By now running low on fuel, the pilot asked Italy if the plane could land there and refuel. With the aircraft now making an unauthorised flight, permission was initially refused, then eventually given, for a refuelling stop in Rome.
Source [Libyan Herald]

People on board expecting a journey of three and a half hours actually spent some 13 hours on the plane.On arrival back in Benghazi, passengers refused to deplane in anger at the debacle which Afriqiyah blamed on Air Moldova.

The LYCAA has opened a docket into the incident.