The Libyan Air Force has lost an Il-76 transport aircraft to fighting by rival militias at Tripoli’s international airport, while dozens of other aircraft have been damaged or destroyed.
On July 16 a Libyan Air Force Il-76T parked on the apron was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) during fighting between rival militias. The aircraft subsequently caught fire and burnt, with only the tail section surviving.
Other Libyan government aircraft that have fallen victim to crossfire include a Libyan Border Patrol Agusta A109E Power, which was destroyed during a rocket attack on July 14. Another A109E, parked next to it, was damaged, and a nearby Libyan Police AW139 received minor damage, according to Air Forces Daily.
Fighting between militia forces for control of the airport began on July 13 and has killed at least 50 people and injured over 120. Mortar rounds, rockets and tank fire hit the airport and its buildings, with fighting peaking on Sunday. The control tower and other infrastructure was badly damaged.
The fighting has caused the airport to be shut down and flights cancelled and due to damage, the airport could be closed for months.
A large number of aircraft that were parked at the airport have been destroyed, with the Tripoli International Airport administration claiming that 21 aircraft have been destroyed in the fighting, and that these are valued at $1.98 billion.
In total, five aircraft have been totally destroyed, including an Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330 and a Libyan Airlines Bombardier CRJ900. An apparently derelict Boeing 727 was also destroyed. At least six aircraft have been substantially damaged, mostly Libyan Airlines and Afriqiyah Airways A330s and A320s, while over a dozen other aircraft have received light damage. Again, most of these aircraft are A320s and A330s belonging to Libya’s two main carriers.
At least 31 aircraft were parked at the airport when fighting broke out last week.