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) is an international airport built to serve the capital city of Libya. The airport is located in the area of Qasr bin Ghashir 34 kilometers (21 miles) from central Tripoli. As part of the 2014 Libyan Civil War, the airport was heavily damaged in the Battle of Tripoli Airport. The airport has been closed intermittently since 2011. It used to be the hub for Libyan Airlines, Afriqiyah Airways and Buraq Air. Flights to and from Tripoli have been using Mitiga International Airport instead.
Originally the airport was called Tripoli-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 intercontinental 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.
On 14 July 2014, the airport was the site of fierce battle between government forces and zintan militias and retrieved the airport to the Libyan authorities. A government spokesman stated that approximately 90% of the planes stationed at the airport were destroyed or made inoperable by the zintan militias. The airport was closed to flights due to the clashes. On 23 August 2014, after 10 days of clashes, the airport finally retrieved by Forces belonging to the chief of staff of the Libyan army. The Los Angeles Times reported that at least 90% of the airport's facilities, and 20 airplanes, were destroyed in the fighting. The airport is currently being demolished
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 head office of the Libyan Civil Aviation Authority is on the airport property.
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. The project has since been halted due to the ongoing civil war that led to further damages to the airport.
Airlines and destinations
Tripoli International Airport has been closed since 13 July 2014 according to the Foreign travel advice updated on 15 January 2016, and "Still current at: 26 February 2016". Libyan Airlines and Afriqiyah Airways are using Mitiga International Airport instead.
The following airlines used to operate to and from Tripoli until the closure of the airport. All of these routes have ceased.
|Emirates SkyCargo||Dubai–Al Maktoum, Frankfurt, Mexico City|
|Etihad Cargo||Abu Dhabi, Milan–Malpensa|
|Royal Jordanian Cargo||Vienna|
|Turkish Airlines Cargo||Istanbul–Atatürk, Tunis|
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 as not serviceable. 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 were reported missing. 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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Media related to Tripoli International Airport at Wikimedia Commons