Tripoli International Airport
|Tripoli International Airport
مطار طرابلس العالمي
|IATA: TIP – ICAO: HLLT|
|Operator||Civil Aviation and Meteorology Bureau|
|Location||Qasr bin Ghashir, Libya|
|Elevation AMSL||263 ft / 80 m|
Tripoli International Airport (IATA: TIP, ICAO: HLLT) (Arabic: مطار طرابلس العالمي) was an international airport built to serve the capital city of Libya. As part of the 2014 Libyan Civil War, it is currently occupied by two groups designated "terrorists" by the Libyan parliament, namely the Central Shield "Misrata Brigades" and the LROR. The airport was heavily damaged in the fighting and is not in use. Flights to/from Tripoli now use Mitiga International Airport.
The airport is located in the area of Qasr bin Ghashir 34 km from central Tripoli. The airport was a hub for Libyan Airlines, Afriqiyah Airways and Buraq Air. Transport to and from Tripoli city center is by road.
Originally the Tripoli International airport was called Castel Benito airport and was a Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) airfield created in 1934 in the southern outskirts of Italian Tripoli. In 1938 the Italian Libya governor Italo Balbo enlarged the military airfield and created an international airport for civilians served by Ala Littoria, the official Italian airline: the Aeroporto di Tripoli-Castel Benito. The first international flights were done to Rome, Tunis and Malta. In 1939 was added a flight from Rome to Ethiopia and Somalia, that was one of the first intercontinenral flights in world history.
During World War II, the airfield was used by the British Royal Air Force and was named RAF Castel Benito later changing to RAF Idris in 1952. In the 1950s and 1960s the airport was named Tripoli Idris International Airport. The airport was renovated for national and international air travel in September 1978. The existing international terminal was designed and built from a masterplan developed by Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners.
Anti-Gaddafi forces captured the airport during their advance on Tripoli on 21 August 2011. The airport was officially reopened on 11 October 2011. In April 2012, the Zintan Brigade officially handed the control of the airport to the Libyan government forces.
On 14 July 2014, the airport was the site of fierce battle between rival militias. A government spokesman stated that approximately 90% of the planes stationed at the airport were destroyed or made inoperable in the attack. The airport was closed to flights due to the clashes. On 23 August 2014, after 10 days of clashes, the airport finally fell to fighters from Libyan Central Shield, a coalition of Islamist and Misrata forces. The Los Angeles Times reported that at least 90% of the airport's facilities, and 20 airplanes, were destroyed in the fighting.
The airport has one main passenger terminal that serves international and domestic departures and arrivals. Check-in and arrival facilities for domestic flights are in the same building as the international terminal but in a different area. The terminal hall is a five-story building with an area of 33,000 square metres (360,000 sq ft), and is capable of handling three million passengers annually. Check-in facilities are all located on the ground floor. The departure gates are located on the floor above as is the duty-free section. Beside this is a prayer room and a first-class lounge which serves business class and above on almost all airlines operating from the airport.
The airport operates 24 hours a day. There is no overnight accommodation at the airport but there are plans to build an airport hotel to serve transit flyers. A restaurant can be found on the fourth floor of the international terminal.
The airport's Cargo-handling facilities include cranes, heavy fork lifts, roller pallet lifts and conveyor belts. There is twenty-four-hour fire protection at the airport with 112 trained personnel working at the fire station.
In September 2007, the Libyan government announced a project to upgrade and expand the airport. The eventual total cost of the project, contracted to a joint venture between Brazil's Odebrecht, TAV Construction of Turkey, Consolidated Contractors Company of Greece and Vinci Construction of France, is LD2.54 billion ($2.1 billion). The project is to construct two new terminals at the airport (an East Terminal and a West Terminal) on either side of the existing International Terminal. Each of the new terminals will be 162,000 square metres (1,740,000 sq ft) in size, and collectively they will have a capacity of 20 million passengers and a parking lot for 4,400 vehicles. French company Aéroports de Paris designed the terminals, which are expected to serve 100 aircraft simultaneously. Work started in October 2007 on the first new terminal. The initial capacity will be 6 million passengers when the first module comes into operation. Preparation is also underway for the second new terminal, which will eventually bring the total capacity to 20 million passengers; the completed airport is expected to strengthen Libya's position as an African aviation hub. Although the government identified Tripoli airport as a "fast track" project in 2007, leading to construction work starting before the design was fully developed, the project will not be finished until at least May 2011. The cost of the project has also been rising, leading to an intense round of renegotiations.
Airlines and destinations
As of 1 August 2014 the airport was closed to all flights due to fighting.
Accidents and incidents
- On 21 September 1955, British Overseas Airways Corporation Canadair C-4 Argonaut traveling from Rome, Italy, to Tripoli crashed on its fourth landing attempt in poor visibility and strong winds. Fifteen of forty-seven occupants died after the aircraft descended too low, struck trees approximately 1,200 feet short of runway 11 and crash landed.
- On 27 July 1989, Korean Air Flight 803, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30), from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to Tripoli. The aircraft initially departed Seoul, South Korea, on a flight to Tripoli with intermediate stops at Bangkok, Thailand; and Jeddah. Visibility was varying between 100 and 800 feet and the runway 27 ILS had been reported unserviceable. On final approach to runway 27 the aircraft crashed short of the runway, striking four houses and a number of cars. Damage– total destruction, Injuries– multiple, Deaths- 79 (4 ground fatalities, 3 of 18 crew, 72 of 181 passengers), Airframe– written off.
- On 22 December 1992, Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 1103 Boeing 727 took off from Benina International Airport near Benghazi, Libya, on a domestic flight to Tripoli. At an altitude of 3,500 ft (1,067 m) during the aircraft's approach to Tripoli airport, it collided with a Libyan Air Force Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23, causing both aircraft to crash. The accident killed all 157 passengers and crew on Flight 1103 and both crew members of the MiG-23.
- On 12 May 2010, Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771, an Airbus A330-200 crashed on approach to the airport on a flight from OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa. 103 of 104 people on board were killed.
- On 25 and 26 August 2011, during the Battle of Tripoli, Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A300B4-620 5A-IAY and Libyan Arab Airlines Airbus A300B4-622 were destroyed in fighting between pro- and anti-Gadaffi forces. Some reports mention an additional 2 aircraft destroyed, including 1 Afriqiyah Airbus A330. A single Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320 was damaged by gunfire.
- On 3 September 2014,11 commercial aircraft went missing ahead of 9/11 anniversary.Intelligence reports of the stolen aircraft include a warning that one or more of the planes could be used in terrorist attacks in the region
- Photo of the Tripoli-Castel Benito airport with a SM-74
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- Staff (12 May 2010). "Plane Crash in Libya 'Kills More than 100'". BBC News. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
- "5A-IAY Hull-Loss Description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
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- Salama, Vivian (26 August 2011). "Tripoli Airport Attacked by Qaddafi Forces". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
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- "11 aircraft are missing from ‘terrorist-held’ Tripoli airport ahead of 9/11 anniversary". Metro UK. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tripoli International Airport.|
- Airport information for HLLT at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
- Airport information for HLLT at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective Oct. 2006).
- Current weather for HLLT at NOAA/NWS
- Accident history for TIP at Aviation Safety Network