Flights underway at Mitiga


Mitiga, the only functioning airport in Tripoli, resumed flight operations on Thursday after a 14 week break, and is expected be fully operational by month end, the transportation minister said.

The airport had been shut since September 1 after being repeatedly targeted by shelling and air strikes blamed on eastern forces led by Khalifa Haftar, trying to take control of Tripoli since April.

After closure of the airport, an eastern suburb, all flights to Tripoli were diverted to the coastal city Misrata, 200 km east.

Workers are doing maintenance work at the main departure terminal and car park. Work is expected to be completed this month.

Two of Libya’s four air carriers operated two flights on Thursday bound for Turkey and Tunisia.
“Flights took off on time and services were available,” said transport minister Milad Matoq, who led a tour of the airport with other officials.

“We have committed to the specified date … as you have seen,” Matoq told reporters. “There are shortcomings that did not affect operating movements today.”

A flight to Tunisia was scheduled for the evening. Libyans mainly fly to Tunisia for the medical services there.

Following destruction of Tripoli International Airport in 2014 in a civil war, Mitiga became the area’s only airport, running domestic and international flights.

A new departure terminal will be completed in the first quarter of the new year, Matoq said.

Lutfi Al-Tabeeb, airport director, said domestic flights to Benghazi, Ghat and Tamanhint in the south will gradually resume in two weeks.

Al-Tabeeb said flights from Mitiga had to be resumed “to lift the burden on citizens travelling long distances out of Libya.”

In October, the UN said it planned to open its own terminal at Mitiga for use by diplomatic missions and voluntary flights.