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Despite the civil unrest, Global Aviation has resumed operating air cargo services from Europe into Libya, leasing a 747-200 freighter to restart the operation.
The company is offering a fortnightly flight from Ostend in Belgium to Tripoli City Airport. The main Tripoli International Airport remains out of action after much of its infrastructure and equipment was destroyed during recent fighting between Libyan militias.
However, Global Aviation’s hub is at Tripoli’s city airport, where it has a warehouse. The company had originally tried to operate a 747-300, but was only granted permission by Libya’s civil aviation authority to fly a 747-200.
The next flight into Libya is due to take off tomorrow.
Julia Ostwaldt, commercial director Europe for Strike Aviation, which is acting as Global Aviation’s GSA in Europe, said that the majority of the cargo was pharmaceutical products and hospital machinery such as dialysis machines; as well some live animals such as doves and pigeons, with requests also having been received for horse transport.
She said traffic rights for the service were being granted on an ad hoc basis by the Libyan authorities, although as there is a ban on freighters landing at night, the flights are not fixed-day, but depart Ostend during the mid-week and during daylight.
“We go from flight to flight,” she told The Loadstar.
Two flights in September from Ostend were cleared to land at Misurata, but the destination has now switched to Tripoli once permission to land was received.
The B747-200 is understood to be owned by Pakistani interests.
Global Aviation also operates a weekly flight from Sharjah to Tripoli, and Ms Ostwaldt said there was generally bigger demand out of the Gulf region.