British Airways set to add fifth weekly UK-Tripoli flight

UK-based airline, British Airways, is introducing more choice for customers as it plans to increase its schedule of flights to Libya with a fifth weekly service from London to Tripoli starting February, the Libya Herald has reported.

The first Wednesday flight is scheduled for February 26, departing from London Heathrow at 9:20 am and arriving in Tripoli at 2:50 pm. The return flight leaves Tripoli International Airport at 3:50 pm and arrives in London at 5:40 pm.

‘The flights are scheduled on popular travel days for business customers, and arrive and depart at reasonable times, so they are able to make onward connections,’ said British Airways’ commercial manager for North Africa, Sarah Cain. She added that the extra service would offer customers greater convenience and flexibility.

‘Libya is a very important market for BA and we are very pleased with the strong demand we have seen for our Tripoli route, both inbound and outbound,’ Ms Cain reportedly said in November when the airline decided to keep its fourth weekly service between London and Tripoli over the winter season. ‘The increased frequency also gives more flexibility to the rising number of passengers we see flying into Libya, as interest in the North African markets continues to grow.’

Starting from February 26, British Airways will fly between London Heathrow and Tripoli International Airport on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Tickets for the additional Wednesday flight are available with immediate effect.

North Africa is one of the markets that British Airways is presently focusing on. In addition to daily flights to Algeria and Egypt, and five flights a week to Tunisia, British Airways has increased its flights to Marrakech, in Morocco, from daily to 10 per week.

Afriqiyah Airways Recommences Service to Tripoli from Gatwick Airport

Afriqiyah Airways, an airline that operates out of Libya, and which is owned by the government of Libya, has resumed direct services from Libya’s capital city, Tripoli, to London Gatwick Airport in the UK.

The airline had previously cancelled its services out of Libya due to political unrest in the country, but it is now offering a three times a week, non-stop service from Tripoli to Gatwick Airport, which started on July 3, 2012. The airline will be operating the service using an Airbus A320 aircraft, which can seat up to 160 passengers.

Matthew Wood, the head of airline relations at Gatwick Airport, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Afriqiyah Airways and its passengers back to Gatwick today and working together again to provide what we expect will be a popular route.’

Khaled Lazumi, the general manager for Afriqiyah Airways, in the UK, said, ‘I am very pleased that this day has finally come. It has been a very difficult year for us all but this day marks the dawn of a new relationship between the new Free Libya and the UK. I am very proud of my team who have worked hard to make this happen in this period of uncertainty.

We would like to thank Gatwick Airport and our business partners for their unwavering support. Similarly our travel agents and friends in the British travel industry have also supported us well and we look forward to renewing this relationship and we look forward to a prosperous future for both our countries.’

Historical gem hidden in Libya

A handful of weeks on from the tangled and savage incidents in Libya, its reputation is seemingly irreparably bruised. The country has been tarnished with labels of danger, an undisputed no –go zone for potential tourists, thanks in large part to former leader Muammar Gaddafi. 

The new interim government however, is hoping to salvage Libya’s tourism industry; as the country is home to the remains of the Roman imperial city of ‘Leptis Magna’. The ancient site is a magnificent historical ground with its unspoiled amphitheatre, grand arch and majestic baths.

The breath-taking architectural site boasts a potential tourist hot spot, as experts hypothesise hundreds of thousands of sightseers will flock to the site to absorb the well preserved beauty and mysterious antiquity of the ruins.
A plaque located at the mouth of the city reads: ‘’Leptis Magna has been designated as a world heritage site and joins a select list of protected areas around the world, whose outstanding natural and cultural resources form the common inheritance of all mankind’’.
Currently only a condensed group of humanitarian workers are based at Leptis Magna, left alone in the muted heat to digest the historical splendour that surrounds them. As the travel restrictions into Libya are eased and inbound flights resumed, the Government hopes the rest of the world will revive Libya’s tourism and economic future.

The potential congregation of tourists are expected to diversify the oil dependent economy, as the heart of Libya provides a place of pilgrimage and peace, cleaning the country’s tainted reputation.
Lined with the glistening stretch of the Mediterranean coastline, the now unveiled Roman City perhaps is Libya’s trump card in being welcomed back into the world as a weighted cultural jewel, not to be alienated or feared by previous unfortunate occurrences.

Article by Emma Boyle

Prime Minister: Qadhafi regime is falling apart and in full retreat

Prime Minister David Cameron said that Qadhafi must stop fighting, without conditions and clearly show that he has given up any claim to control Libya.

Speaking after chairing a meeting of the National Security Council on Libya the Prime Minister said:

“I have just come from chairing a meeting of the National Security Council on the situation in Libya.

The latest information is that the vast majority of Tripoli is now controlled by free Libyan fighters, although fighting continues – and some of it is extremely fierce.

We have no confirmation of Qadhafi’s whereabouts, but at least two of Qadhafi’s sons have been detained.

His regime is falling apart and in full retreat.

Qadhafi must stop fighting, without conditions – and clearly show that he has given up any claim to control Libya.

As for his future, that should be a decision for Chairman Jalil and the new Libyan authorities.

The situation in Tripoli is clearly very fluid today and there can be no complacency.

Our task now is to do all we can to support the will of the Libyan people, which is for an effective transition to a free, democratic and inclusive Libya.

This will be a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned process with broad international support co-ordinated by the UN – and I am in close contact with partners from NATO, the Arab League and with Chairman Jalil himself.

Clearly the immediate priority today is to establish security in Tripoli.

We are working closely with the NTC to support their plans to make sure that happens.

I spoke to Chairman Jalil last week, and will be speaking to him again, to agree with him the importance of respecting human rights, avoiding reprisals, and making sure all parts of Libya can share in the country’s future.

And the wider NATO mission which is to protect civilians – that will continue for as long as it is needed.

This morning the National Security Council also discussed the urgent work that needs to be done on medical supplies and humanitarian aid, on diplomatic efforts, and on our work at the UN Security Council.

Let me say a word about each.

First, on the need to support the medical facilities in Tripoli.

We have already deployed medical supplies close to where they are needed, and have now released them to the World Health Organisation.

In the coming days it will be important to make sure the communications networks, the electricity, the power supplies, fuel and water are maintained or repaired where they need to be.

The National Transitional Council have been planning for this for months and we have been helping with that work.

Diplomatically, we have a strong mission already in Benghazi consisting of Foreign Office, military and aid specialists, and we will establish a British diplomatic presence in Tripoli as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.

This will include stabilisation experts who have been planning for this moment with the NTC for months.

At the UN, we will also be taking early action in the Security Council to give the new Libyan authorities the legal, diplomatic, political and financial support they need.

We will soon be able to release the frozen assets that belong to the Libyan people.

The Foreign Secretary is returning and, with the Deputy Prime Minister, the Defence Secretary and the Development Secretary, will coordinate our efforts with the NTC in the week ahead.

Six months ago this country took the difficult decision to commit our military to support the people of Libya.

I said at the time that this action was necessary, legal and right – and I still believe that today.

It was necessary because Gadhafi was going to slaughter his own people – and that massacre of thousand of innocent people was averted.

Legal, because we secured a Resolution from the United Nations, and have always acted according to that Resolution.

And right, because the Libyan people deserve to shape their own future, just as the people of Egypt and Tunisia are now doing.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many British pilots, air staff, ground crew and everyone who worked so hard to support the NATO mission and the work of the NTC.

On the pilots – as ever they have sho0wn incredible bravery, professionalism and dedication.

This has not been our revolution, but we can be proud that we have played our part.

There will undoubtedly be difficult days ahead.

No transition is ever smooth or easy.

But today the Arab spring is a step further away from oppression and dictatorship and a step closer to freedom and democracy.

And the Libyan people are closer to their dream of a better future.”