Sunday, April 14, 2013

■ LIBYA: Libyan Airlines management claims ongoing strike not affecting operations.

Libyan Airlines logoLibyan Airlines (LN) has denied that its operations have been curtailed by an ongoing employee strike which has now entered its second week. Online news reports had earlier suggested that the airline had ceased taking reservations though this has since been confirmed as false.

Libyan Airlines' striker (Ayman Majed)
It is uncertain as to whether or not the industrial action has spread to include ground staff at the airline, as opposed to only Libya Airlines pilots based in Benghazi, who said they plan "to go on indefinite strike as over demands that the company’s headquarters be moved back to the city." Scheduled Libyan Airlines flights are unaffected by the current strike claiming that only "8 to 12" people have downed their tools.

However, Captain Hussein Fitouri, from the Benghazi Pilot’s Union, told the Libya Herald on Saturday, that there are, in fact, 30 pilots on strike and that two Airbus A320s, which service routes from Tripoli to Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey, are currently stranded at Benghazi Airport.

Management disputes the motives behind the the strike, stating that the pilots involved are, in fact, unwilling to have their flying abilities scrutinised under more stringent conditions, as part of a move by the airline to be removed from the EU No Fly List.
"The airline source explained that some employees were disgruntled that their retraining had been moved to Germany, where standards are much stricter. Libyan Airlines pilots, most of whom previously qualified in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt, are being retrained by Lufthansa in an effort to get the current ban lifted on the airline flying in EU airspace."
Source [Libya Herald]

The strike also centres on demands that senior executives of the Libyan African Holding Company (LAHC), which controls both Libyan Airlines and sister carrier Afriqiyah (8U), should "be removed for their association with the Gaddafi regime."

This strike follows on from one held late last year in which a general strike at Libyan Airlines was called as a result of  alleged "corruption and neglect" in the company.