Benina International Airport
|This article needs to be updated. (March 2015)|
|Benina International Airport
مطار بنينة الدولي
|IATA: BEN – ICAO: HLLB|
|Operator||Civil Aviation and Meteorology Bureau|
|Serves||Benina, Benghazi, Libya|
|Elevation AMSL||132 m / 433 ft|
Benina International Airport (IATA: BEN, ICAO: HLLB) (Arabic: مطار بنينة الدولي) serves Benghazi, Libya. It is located in the town of Benina, 19 kilometres (12 mi) east of Benghazi, from which it takes its name. The airport is operated by the Civil Aviation and Meteorology Bureau of Libya and is the second largest in the country after Tripoli International Airport. Benina International is also the secondary hub of both Buraq Air and flag carrier, Libyan Airlines. As of 17 July 2014 all flights to the airport were suspended due to fighting in the area.
During World War II, the airport was used by the United States Army Air Forces Ninth Air Force during the Eastern Desert Campaign. Known as Soluch Airfield, it was used by the 376th Bombardment Group, which flew B-24 Liberator heavy bombers from the airfield between 22 February and 6 April 1943. Once the combat units moved west, it was used as a logistics hub by Air Transport Command. It functioned as a stopover en route to Payne Field near Cairo or to Mellaha Field near Tripoli on the North African Cairo-Dakar transport route for cargo, transiting aircraft and personnel.
A new terminal with a capacity of 5 million passengers was to be developed north of the existing runway at Benina International under a 720 million LYD (€415 million) first-stage contract awarded to Canada's SNC-Lavalin as of 2008. The final cost was estimated at 1.1 billion LYD (€630 million). As with Tripoli International Airport, the new terminal was designed by Aéroports de Paris Engineering. Preliminary work and site preparation had started as of May 2008, but it remains unclear when the terminal will be open for operation. The contract for Benina International Airport included construction of a new international terminal, runway and apron. The new airport would have been part of an extensive new infrastructure programme being undertaken by the government of Libya throughout the country.
The airport has been closed since 16 May 2014, due to clashes in the area between militias and forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar. As of 1 August 2014 international airlines had suspended all flights to Libya. As of 5 August 2015 the airport was closed to passenger traffic.
Airlines and destinations
As of December 2015, Air Libya operated out of Benina International Airport and operates flights to Tripoli, Alexandria, Kufra and Tunis while Libyan Airlines operates to Amman and Kufra.
Accidents and incidents
- On 4 April 1943, Lady Be Good, a World War II B-24 Liberator based at Soluch Field, missed the airport while returning from a bombing mission in Italy. It crashed in the Libyan Desert 434 miles (699 km) southeast of Soluch Field and was lost for 15 years.
- On 9 August 1958, a Vickers Viscount registration VP-YNE of Central African Airways crashed 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) south east of Benina International Airport, killing 36 of the 54 people on board.
- Airport information for HLLB at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.
- Airport information for Benina International Airport at Search (for) Travel website.
- Saudi Gazette, Libya in Mortal Danger, Editorial, 17 July 2014, http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20140717211775
- Later Soluch Air Base
- Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Endress, Gunter (20 May 2008). "Libya to restructure air transport sector". London: Flightglobal. Airline Business. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013.
- "Libya: Gaddafi forces bomb Benghazi as US indicates no-fly zone support". The Scotsman. 17 March 2011. Archived from the original on 17 July 2013.
- "Gaddafi's planes strike around rebel stronghold". Reuters. 17 March 2011. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013.
- 43 killed in Libya clashes, authorities close Benghazi airport RT. 16 May 2014. Accessed 15 July 2014
- 90% of aircraft destroyed at Tripoli airport, Libya may seek international assistance RT. 15 July 2014.
- Libya Herald, International airlines unsure about dates for resuming Libya flights, By Tom Westcott, London, 1 August 2014, http://www.libyaherald.com/2014/08/01/international-airlines-unsure-about-dates-for-resuming-libya-flights/#axzz39EOzawPJ
- QMFound.com: Lady Be Good Archived 25 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
- Accident description Aviation Safety Network (Original source "ICAO Accident Digest, Circular 59-AN/54 (171-178)) Retrieved 17 August 2015
|Wikinews has related news: Runways at Libya's Benina International Airport|
Media related to Benina International Airport at Wikimedia Commons