Tripoli International Airport

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This article is about the airport in Tripoli, Libya. For the airport in Tripoli, Greece, see Tripolis Airport.
Tripoli International Airport
مطار طرابلس العالمي
Tripoli Airport.jpg
Airport type Public
Operator Civil Aviation and Meteorology Bureau
Serves Tripoli
Location Qasr bin Ghashir, Libya
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 263 ft / 80 m
Coordinates 32°40′10″N 013°09′24″E / 32.66944°N 13.15667°E / 32.66944; 13.15667Coordinates: 32°40′10″N 013°09′24″E / 32.66944°N 13.15667°E / 32.66944; 13.15667
TIP is located in Libya
Location within Libya
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 3,600 11,811 Asphalt/Concrete
18/36 2,235 7,333 Asphalt
Statistics (2008)
Passengers 3,070,200

Tripoli International Airport (IATA: TIPICAO: 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 km 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.[1] 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.[2][3] The airport was renovated for national and international air travel in September 1978.[4] The existing international terminal was designed and built from a masterplan developed by Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners.[5]

The airport closed from March 2011 to October 2011 as a result of United Nations Security Council establishing a no-fly zone over Libya.

The Zintan Brigade captured the airport during their advance on Tripoli on 21 August 2011. The airport was officially reopened on 11 October 2011.[6]

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.[7][8] 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.[9] The Los Angeles Times reported that at least 90% of the airport's facilities, and 20 airplanes, were destroyed in the fighting.[10]


The airport's existing terminals and runways in a satellite image


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.[11]

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).[12] 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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[12] 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.[15] The project has since been halted due to the ongoing civil war that led to further damages to the airport.

Current operations[edit]

As of November 1st 2015 - the airport is still closed. Foreign travel advice 8 September 2015, and "Still current at: 30 November 2015/" Libyan Airlines and Afriqiyah Airways are using Mitiga International Airport (HLLM/MJI) instead.[16]

Former airlines and destinations[edit]


Airlines Destinations
Afriqiyah Airways Alexandria–Borg el Arab, Amman–Queen Alia, Benghazi, Cairo, Casablanca, Düsseldorf, Istanbul–Atatürk, Khartoum, London–Gatwick, Monastir, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Rome–Fiumicino, Sebha, Tunis
Seasonal: Jeddah
Air Algerie Algiers
Alitalia Rome–Fiumicino
British Airways London–Heathrow
Buraq Air Bayda, Benghazi, Istanbul–Atatürk, Rabat, Sebha, Tobruk, Tunis, Sfax
EgyptAir Cairo
Libyan Airlines Algiers, Amman–Queen Alia, Bayda, Benghazi, Djerba, Ghadames, Ghat, Istanbul–Atatürk
Syphax Airlines Djerba, Monastir, Sfax
Tunisair Tunis, Sfax
Tunisair Express Monastir, Sfax


Airlines Destinations
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[edit]

  • 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.[17]
  • 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.[18]
  • 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.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Photo of the Tripoli-Castel Benito airport with a SM-74
  2. ^ [1]. Retrieved 15 December 2007.
  3. ^ [2]. Retrieved 15 December 2007.
  4. ^ "Tripoli International Airport". LYCAA. Retrieved 1 November 2006.
  5. ^ [dead link] [3]. Retrieved 14 September 2007.
  6. ^ "Libya's NTC fighters stage final advance in Sirte holdout -". CNN. 12 October 2011. 
  7. ^ New rocket attack on Tripoli airport BBC News. 15 July 2014.
  8. ^ 90% of aircraft destroyed at Tripoli airport, Libya may seek international assistance RT. 15 July 2014.
  9. ^ Chris Stephen and Anne Penketh (24 August 2014). "Libyan capital under authorities control after Tripoli airport retrieved". The Guardian. 
  10. ^ Al Jazeera Retrieved 23 August 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "Contact" (Archive). Libyan Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved on 30 August 2014. "مطار طرابلس الدولي - طريق المطار - طرابلس - ليبيا" ("Tripoli International Airport - Airport Road - Tripoli - Libya")
  12. ^ a b (20 May 2008). Endres, Gunter (20 May 2008). "Libya To Restructure Air Transport Sector". Retrieved 30 May 2008.
  13. ^ [dead link] "TAV To Build International Airport at Libya's Capital". Turkish Daily News. 22 August 2007.
  14. ^ [clarification needed] Flying Away, (12 February 2008)"وضع حجر الأساس لصالة ركاب مطار طرابلس العالمي الجديد " (in Arabic). Retrieved 2 March 2008.
  15. ^ (27 August 2009). "Tripoli Makes Up for Lost Time in Construction Sector". MEED (from BDP Project Logistics). Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  16. ^ "Foreign travel advice Libya". UK Government. Retrieved November 29, 2015. 
  17. ^ "ASN Aircraft Accident Canadair C-4 Argonaut G-ALHL Tripoli-Idris Airport (TIP)". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  18. ^ "ASN Aircraft Accident McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 HL7328 Tripoli". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  19. ^ "ASN Aircraft Accident Boeing 727-2L5 5A-DIA Tripoli International Airport". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  20. ^ Staff (12 May 2010). "Plane Crash in Libya 'Kills More than 100'". BBC News. Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  21. ^ "5A-IAY Hull-Loss Description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  22. ^ "5A-DLZ Criminal Occurrence Description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  23. ^ [4].
  24. ^ Salama, Vivian (26 August 2011). "Tripoli Airport Attacked by Qaddafi Forces". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  25. ^ [unreliable source?][5]. (via Facebook).
  26. ^ "11 aircraft are missing from ‘terrorist-held’ Tripoli airport ahead of 9/11 anniversary". Metro UK. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Tripoli International Airport at Wikimedia Commons