Nearly a year ago a revolution was set in motion in Libya, grounding the nation’s two primary airlines, Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines. At the time the Libyan Uprising began on the 15th of February 2011 Afriqiyah Airwaysand Libyan Airlines were two years into a planned merger … now three months following the end of the Libyan revolution the national flag carriers are looking at their futures.
Afriqiyah Airways appears to be ahead of Libyan Airlines in planning its international routes with the announcement that it should resume service from Tripoli to London’s Gatwick International Airport on the 1st of May 2012.
As the Libyan National Transitional Council seeks to restore Libya’s economy, international ties the need for an international airline is significant, and Afriqiyah Airways had played a unique role as an African airline. Afriqiyah Airways was created with the concept that the Northern Africa based airline would unite Africa’s business centers and link them to major European and Asian business centers. The concept behind Afriqiyah Airways historically generated little origin-and-destination (O&D) traffic and its passenger, cargo and revenue were largely generated from connecting traffic.
A newly reshaped Libya is likely an ideal environment for the merger of Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines, given their fleet commonality; significant orders for new aircraft still on the books with Airbus and renewed interest from the European markets.
With Libya sitting on the largest oil fields in Africa, it is likely both Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines will see significant growth, and expansion over the next year, with high yield traffic … which is good news for Airbus, Bombardier and ground service providers.
Along with Libya’s national airlines getting back to the skies, British Airways and Qatar Airways will return to Tripoli. Qatar Airways will resume service on the 2nd of February and British Airways on the 1st of May.
Below is a graphic of Afriqiyah Airways’ route map prior to its suspension of service during the Libyan Uprising.