Monday, August 19, 2013

■ LIBYA: Tripoli International Airport to close for 3 months from October over runway repairs?

Libya's Ministry of Transport has reportedly announced the temporary closure of Tripoli International Airport with effect from October until December owing to critical runway repair and upgrade work. This has yet to be confirmed by either the Libyan Airports Authority or any Libyan carriers.

The Libyan Herald writes that during this time, flights to the Libyan capital will be forced to use Mitiga International Airport, an airport located about 8 kilometres east of Tripoli's city centre and which was once upon a time, a United States Air Force (USAF) facility known as Wheelus Air Base.

The Ministry of Transport gave no indication as to whom would be undertaking the runway maintenance nor the cost of the project. Tripoli has two runways; the primary 09/27 which is 3'600m long and 18/36 which is 2'235m long.

Mitiga is currently served by cargo operators namely MNG Airlines (MB), Global Aviation (5S) and Turkish Ailrines Cargo (TK).

Meanwhile, international operations into and out of the southern city of Sabha have resumed, with the first plane load of Hajj/Umrah pilgrims having returned from Saudi Arabia Libyan TV reports. The airport was closed to international traffic in May when a group of Tebus tribesmen closed the airport road in protest at the disappearance of their leader Alashei Mahdi, the head of the Qatrun Martyrs Brigade, based in the town.

Adequate security measures have reportedly been put in place to ensure travellers safety.