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Turkish Airlines Eyes Return to Libya

The airline is in talks to resume service to the country after nearly a decade.

A Turkish 737 MAX (Photo: Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia – Turkish Airlines, TC-LCJ, Boeing 737-8 MAX, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78144499)

On Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Tripoli, a meeting between Libyan Transport Minister Mohamed Al-Shahoubi and the Turkish Ambassador to Libya Kanan Yilmaz agreed to prepare a memorandum of understanding that will contribute to accelerating the return of Turkish Airlines to operate flights to Libyan airports.

‎‎The meeting was attended by Undersecretary for Air Transport Affairs Khaled Souissi and Head of the Civil Aviation Authority Abdulrahman bin Youssef.‎ The discussion also focused on facilitating travel visas for Libyan citizens.

This meeting follows an earlier visit by Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hakan Fidan, to Tripoli, Libya on Feb. 7, 2024. During his visit, he engaged in discussions with Libyan officials, including Abdulhamid Dbeiba, the Prime Minister of Libya and the issue of Turkish Airlines resuming flights to Tripoli was among the issues discussed along with the issues on regional security and stability.

Turkish Airlines had expressed its intention to resume flights to Libya on Sept. 12, 2023,  almost a decade since it suspended operations to the country. The government-owned airline was the last foreign carrier operating in Libya before it suspended flights to Misurata, the only city it served, in January 2015, due to the conflict in Tripoli. The exact date for the resumption of flights has not been announced.

Turkish’s African Network

Turkish Airlines offers flights to various destinations in Africa, including Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Abuja, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and many other destinations in the continent.

Currently, Libyan Wings and Afriqiyah Airlines offer regular flights between Misurata and Istanbul, according to FlightRadar24.

Despite the peace agreement signed in October 2020 and improvements in Libyan airport infrastructure, countries have been cautious about resuming air traffic with Libya following the civil war that occurred after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Libya has been making progress in restoring international connections, with hopes of the EU flight ban being lifted in April 2024. Additionally, on Jan. 26, 2024, the U.S. pledged support for Libya’s civil aviation sector and airport security with a $4.5 million training grant.

Furthermore, Libya and neighboring Morocco have expressed their mutual desire to reinstate air connectivity between the two countries after a high-level meeting in Rabat on Feb. 6, 2024 that involved Mr. Mohamed Abdel Jalil, Morocco’s Minister of Transport and Logistics, Mr. Salem Al-Shahoubi, Minister of Transport of Libya, and His Excellency Mr. Abu Bakr Al-Taweel, Chargé d’Affaires of the Libyan Embassy in Morocco.

Victor Shalton

Author

  • Victor Shalton

    Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Victor’s love for aviation goes way back to when he was 11-years-old. Living close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, he developed a love for planes and he even recalls aspiring to be a future airline executive for Kenya Airways. He also has a passion in the arts and loves writing and had his own aviation blog prior to joining AirlineGeeks. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at DeKUT and aspiring to make a career in a more aviation-related course.

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