Afriqiyah Airways (Arabic: الخطوط الجوية الأفريقية Al-Khuṭūṭ al-Jawwiyyah al-Afrīqiyyah) is a state-owned airline based in Tripoli, Libya. Before the Libyan Civil War of 2011 it operated domestic services between Tripoli and Benghazi, and international scheduled services to over 25 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East; since the end of the war, it has been rebuilding its business. In mid-October 2010, Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines (Libya's other state flag carrier) were expected to merge into one airline, and, although postponed, the merger is still planned. The name Afriqiyah comes from the Arabic word for African.
Afriqiyah Airways' main base is Tripoli International Airport, and the airline is a member of the Arab Air Carriers Organization and the International Air Transport Association. It generated US$120 million in revenue in 2006.
- 1 History
- 2 Corporate affairs
- 3 Destinations
- 4 Fleet
- 5 Accidents and incidents
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Establishment and growth: 2001-2011
Afriqiyah Airways was established in April 2001 and commenced scheduled services on 1 December 2001. It is wholly owned by the Libyan government and has 287 employees (at March 2007). The airline started with Boeing 737-400 aircraft, but in 2003, an all-Airbus fleet was introduced. The Italian airline Blue Panorama jointly set up the airline with the Libyan government.
Afriqiyah Airways signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the purchase of six Airbus A320s and three Airbus A319s plus an option on five, as well as for three Airbus A330-200s, with an option for three. The first A319 was delivered on September 8, 2008.
The new A320s and A319s entered service on Afriqiyah’s growing international network, covering routes from its base at Tripoli to seventeen destinations in North, West, and Central Africa and the Middle East, as well as to European destinations such as Paris, Brussels, London, Rome, and Amsterdam. Afriqiyah’s A319s carry 124 passengers in a two-class configuration, while the A320 seats 144 in two class configurations (J16/Y128). The A330s serve the long-distance operations on routes to Southern Africa, Asia and Europe, and have a two-class configuration with 230 seats (J30/Y200). As of 2015 the airline no longer flies to some of these destinations anymore.
On 20 August 2009 an Air Afriqiyah aircraft (registration 5A-IAY) - the private aircraft of Colonel Gaddafi - flew to Glasgow Airport to collect Abelbasset al-Megrahi (who had been convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and released on compassionate grounds by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice in the Scottish Government). He was flown directly from Glasgow to Tripoli.
Suspended operations: 2011
As a consequence of the Libyan Civil War and the resulting no-fly zone over the country enforced by NATO, in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, all flight operations by Afriqiyah Airways were terminated on 17 March 2011.
Point 17 of the United Nations resolution specifically banned flights into members of the United Nations by aircraft registered in Libya. This was to have been rescinded when Afriqiyah Airways was officially 'unsanctioned' on 22 September 2011, when Libyan-registered aircraft should have been again permitted to enter EU airspace. This did not happen and up to 5 March 2013 however no such easing had been announced and Libyan-registered aircraft are still banned from Europe, even overflying through the airspace. The Tripoli - Istanbul route has to route further east, via over Alexandria, which adds an hour each way to the sector time. Afriqiyah Airways announced that they expected to resume flights between Tripoli and London by the end of the year, subject to the issue of the correct air transport and security permits, using A320 equipment. However, flights did not resume until 3 July 2012. In order to get round the EU ban, Afriqiyah has wet-leased an A320 (ER-AXP) from Air Moldova, which complies with the EU requirements.
Rebuilding post-war services: 2012 onwards
After suffering badly during the war, Afriqiyah Airways expressed its renewed optimism for the future on 12 November 2012 when it increased its order for A350 aircraft, announcing a new firm order for four A350-900s, and converting its original order for six A350-800s into six of the larger A350-900 model, taking the total number of A350s on order to 10 A350-900s. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2020, and the airline plans to deploy the aircraft on new routes to the United States, the Middle East and Asia.
On 19 December 2012 the airline unveiled its new livery, which features a white fuselage and black tailfin adorned with three blue stripes, representing the neck markings of the Turtle Dove. This design will replace the former livery with the 9.9.99 logo on its tailfin.
Afriqiyah Airways is a subsidiary of the Libyan African Aviation Holding Company (LAAHC), which itself is owned by the Libyan National Social Fund, the Libyan National Investment Company, the Libya-Africa Investment Fund and the Libyan Foreign Investment Company; the airline is ultimately owned by the Libyan government.
LAAHC is also the holding company for Libyan Airlines; although they currently have separate operations, a merger of the two carriers is progressing slowly, though earlier expectations of a union in the first half of 2013 appear to have repeatedly been put back, and in June 2014 it was reported that the merger was "not currently being worked on".
Little management data for Afriqiyah Airways has been published, even before the civil war of 2011. Mainly based on statements by airline or government officials, trends for recent years are shown below (for years ending 31 December):
|Net Profits/Losses (LDm)|
|Net Profits/Losses (US$m)|
|Number of employees||c. 140||c. 287||c. 835||c.1,080||c.1,300||c.1,463||c.1,635||c.1,880|
|Number of passengers (m)||0.4||0.7||0.9||1.4||2.3||0.4||0.8||1.2|
|Passenger load factor (%)||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Number of aircraft (at year end)||14||n/a||11|
The Gaddafi-era 9.9.99 logo on the side of Afriqiyah's aircraft refers to the date of the Sirte Declaration, signed on 9 September 1999. The declaration marked the formation of the Organisation for African Unity. On Muammar Gaddafi's orders, the date was placed on the fuselage of all of the aircraft when the airline was founded. Tom Little of the Libya Herald said "Gaddafi saw the declaration as one of his proudest achievements".
In 2012 the airline decided to use a new branding to replace the previous one with its Gaddafi overtones. Saeed Al-Barouni, the in-flight services and catering manager, created a new logo that was selected from sixty other candidates. Al-Barouni's new logo is based on the markings of a turtle dove. The new branding was unveiled on 19 December 2012 at the Rixos Al Nasr hotel in Tripoli.
Afriqiyah Airways plans to introduce new services to Marseille. Three A330s that were delivered in 2009 were used to inaugurate new routes to Dhaka, Johannesburg and Kinshasa. In the winter 2010, two new routes were added to the airline's network - Beijing and Nouakchott.
As of July 2014, the Afriqiyah Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft, with an average age of 4 years:
|Airbus A330-200||2||1||—||30||200||230||2 aircraft were written off, 1 aircraft is stored. All orders were converted from A321.|
|Airbus A350-900||—||10||—||TBA||6 orders converted from Airbus A350-800|
An Airbus A300, registration 5A-IAY was painted in the airline colours and operated as a private jet for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from 2003 to 2011. The aircraft flew frequently to Hamburg for maintenance at Lufthansa VIP & Government Jet maintenance. It was fitted with a VIP interior and operated under an Afriqiyah flight number. It was completely burned to the ground during the battle at Tripoli International Airport. In addition, an Airbus A340-200 (5A-ONE) also operated as private jet for Gaddafi.
Accidents and incidents
- On 12 May 2010, at 04:10 UTC (06:10 Tripoli time) Flight 771, an Airbus A330-202, flying from Johannesburg in South Africa to Tripoli crashed on approach to Tripoli airport. 11 crew members and 93 passengers were killed. The sole survivor was a nine-year-old Dutch boy. The aircraft (serial number 1024) was delivered on 8 September 2009, thus being some eight months old at the time of the incident. The aircraft had logged approximately 1600 hours on 420 flights. The weather at the time of the crash was officially recorded as cloudy, but with good visibility, and no fog or thunderstorms. However, the aircraft was making an approach to the easterly runway, which has no blind landing aids. The sun was just on the horizon and a sandstorm had just passed, making the visibility into the sun decidedly murky. The westerly runway, away from the sun, had excellent visibility, however, and it is unclear why the pilot was directed to use the easterly runway in such marginal conditions following a long overnight flight.
- On 25 August 2011, during crossfire in the Battle of Tripoli, Airbus A300B4-620 5A-IAY was destroyed, and an Airbus A320, 5A-ONK, sustained damage to the starboard wing root from a rocket-propelled grenade while it was parked on the ramp on Tripoli International Airport.
- On 20 July 2014, two Airbus A330-200 aircraft (registrations 5A-ONF and 5A-ONP) were hit by rocket fired by one of the rival militias (Misratah and Zintan) fighting for control of the facility at Tripoli International Airport. 5A-ONF was damaged beyond repair and was written off; however, 5A-ONP suffered minor to moderate damage, and was stored for repair. 
- "Contact Us" Afriqiyah Airways. Established on 9 November 2009. "Headquarters 273 Omar Al Mokhtar Street, P.O. BOX 83428 Tripoli-Libya"
- Libya's Airlines Expect to Merge Soon, Reuters Africa, September 19, 2010. Accessed September 19, 2010.
- "Rebuilding Libya's aviation industry crucial to economic recovery | CAPA". Centre for Aviation. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- Reuters "Libya wants to merge national airlines: minister." Reuters. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- CNN Wire Staff. "Crash survivor's family arrives in Tripoli." CNN. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2010. "The Tripoli-based Afriqiyah (Arabic for "African")[...]" and "The planes in the fleet carry the logo 9.9.99: the date when the African Union was formed."
- "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-03-27. p. 51.
- "Political, visa issues driving Libya's Airbus orders", Business Intelligence Middle East Accessed May 30, 2008
- "Libya enters Africa airline dogfight." BBC. Thursday 2 May 2002. Retrieved on 29 April 2013.
- Afriqiyah Airways Orders (Airbus Press Release: July 18, 2006)
- "A319 for Afriqiyah", Aviation Week & Space Technology, Vol. 169 No. 10, 15 September 2008, p. 16
- http://jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=6650762 Image at Jetphotos.net website
- United Nations. "Security Council Approves ‘No-Fly Zone’ over Libya, Authorizing ‘All Necessary Measures’ to Protect Civilians, by Vote of 10 in Favour with 5 Abstentions".
- n/a (22 September 2011). "EU implements latest UN decisions in support of Libya". The Council of the European Union (Brussels). Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- Linsey McNeill (4 July 2012). "Afriqiyah resumes flights to Libya despite Foreign Office warning". Travelmole.com (Brussels). Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- "Libya’s economy recovers as airlines restore networks post-revolution". CAPA - Centre for Aviation (Brussels). 10 December 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- "Arabian Aerospace - Afriqiyah shelves Libyan merger amid upsurge in violence". Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "Afriqiyah Airways profile". Arab Aviation. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- "Afriqiyah Airways: The Tripoli-Based Carrier Is Expanding Ahead of Its Planned Merger with Libya's Flag Carrier". MEED Middle East Economic Digest Vol. 54, No. 25. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- "Afriqiyah Airways: Strategy and Outlook for the Second Largest Airlines in Libya". Marcopolis.net. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- "Background Information." A.I.C. Airline Industry Consultants GmbH for Afriqiyah Airways. Retrieved on April 28, 2013.
- Little, Tom. "Afriqiyah launches new logo." Libya Herald. 20 December 2012. Retrieved on 28 April 2013.
- (May 20, 2008), Endres, Gunter, "Libya to restructure air transport sector", FlightGlobal, accessed May 20, 2008
- New Routes, Afriqiyah Website
- "Afriqiyah Airways". ch-aviation.com. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
- 16 January 2014. "Afriqiyah Airways places firm order for four more A350 XWBs | Airbus News & Events". Airbus.com. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- "Afriqiyah Airways Orders 4 A350-900s". Libyaninvestment.com. 2012-11-19. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- "Libya plane crash 'kills all 105 on board'". BBC News. 2010-05-12. Archived from the original on 13 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
- http://www.nu.nl/vliegramp-tripoli/2246071/overlevende-crash-libie-geopereerd.html%7Cdate=April 2012
- "Afriqiyah Airways 5A-ONG (Airbus A330 - MSN 1024) - Airfleets aviation". Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "70 Nederlanders omgekomen bij crash". RTL Nieuws. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- "PICTURES: Two A300s destroyed in Tripoli conflict - 8/26/2011". Flight Global. 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- "5A-IAY Hull-loss description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
- Salama, Vivian (26 August 2011). "Tripoli Airport Attacked by Qaddafi Forces". Bloomberg.
- "12 Airplanes Damaged At Tripoli Airport Civil Aviation Forum - Airliners.net". Retrieved 24 April 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Afriqiyah Airways.|
- Official website
- Official website (Arabic)
- Official website (Benelux) (Archive)
- Afriqiyah Airways at ATDB: profile, history and events, contacts and management, historical/current/planned aircraft in fleets