Tuesday, August 6, 2013

► LIBYA: Qatar Airways A320 diverts to Alexandria after militia forces Tripoli tower to deny landing permission.

Qatar AirwaysQatar Airways (QR) has once again been victimized in Libya, this time in Tripoli when on Sunday, August 4, an armed militia are said to have forced Tripoli ATC tower staff to deny an inbound Qatar Airways A320 permission to land, instead forcing it to divert to Alexandria, Egypt. The flight, QR528, then refuelled and returned to Qatar.

The sign posted on Qatar Airways'
Tripoli office door (GMLibya)
Libya's Interior Ministry described the act as shameful adding that it would send the wrong message about Libya to the international community and foreign companies thereby "hindering economic development and reconstruction projects."

The Doha News says the incident happened after another group of men, on Saturday, forced the Qatar Airways office at Tripoli International Airport to shut before ordering all staff to leave. A sign was posted on the airline’s office door in Arabic, reading, “Closed by the order of the Libyan people." The group reportedly said that they intended to prevent Qatari passenger and cargo aircraft from landing in Libya, but failed to explain their reasons. They also said that they intended "to force the closure of the downtown Qatar Airways office in Tripoli Tower."

In mid June, the airline suspended flights to Benghazi after an incident at Benghazi’s Benina Airport  involving a group of mostly Bangladeshi passengers who were forced back onto their flight to Doha by a group of Libyan protesters from the Ezzedine Al-Waqwaq brigade.

Various demonstrations and riots in Libya and Tunisia in the last two months have centred on alleged Qatari involvement and backing of Libyan Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood.