Air Malta has been gearing up to resume daily scheduled flights to Tripoli once it is given the go-ahead and visas start being issued, according to airline CEO Peter Davies.
“I have a report on my desk which says, how, just like that... (he clicks his fingers)... we can start operating flights into Tripoli,” he said.
The report is updated every two days as progress is made. A flight schedule has been laid out and plans are being finalised to ensure there are enough aircraft and crews because the service will affect the present deployment levels.
A commercial plan has also been finalised in line with a request by Air Libya for assistance in connection with flights from Malta to “Benghazi, Tripoli and beyond”. The quotation is still being considered.
Besides requiring the necessary permission from the Libyan civil aviation authority, the airline must also wait until the new Libyan Administration decides to issue visas.
“The Libyan transitional government will insist on visas but there is no mechanism in place at the moment for these to be issued.
There’s no point flying an aircraft if you can’t physically carry people because they can’t get visas,” Mr Davies said. This, he added, was a matter being discussed on a governmental level.
Air Malta had stopped flying to Libya when the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime started in February and its last flights were to fly out evacuees.
The Libyan transitional government will insist on visas but there is no mechanism in place at the moment for these to be issued.- Davies
“There’s a raft of things we’ve got to get in place... (But) we haven’t been idle,” he stressed when asked whether Air Malta was preparing itself for the opportunities developing in Libya now that the crisis was coming to an end.
Mr Davies promised he would be on the first Air Malta flight to Tripoli and also invite members of the press aboard.
No European airlines are operating regular services to Tripoli. Air Malta has four employees stationed in Tripoli.
Mr Davies said he hoped the good relations between the Maltese and Libyan people meant Air Malta was well positioned to be able to take advantage of the commercial opportunities arising.
“I’m not doing it to test my mettle but because it is a commercial opportunity and Air Malta made profit on the Tripoli route.
“We want to be there as quickly as possible,” he said.
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