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Afriqiyah Airways

Afriqiyah Airways (Arabic: الخطوط الجوية الأفريقيةAl-Khuṭūṭ al-Jawwiyyah al-Afrīqiyyah) is a state-owned airline based in Tripoli, Libya.[1] Before the 17 February 2011 revolution, 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 seeking to rebuild its business. Afriqiyah Airways' main base is technically Tripoli International Airport,[2] although this was reported as closed in 2014 and flights are operating as best they can from other airports. The airline is a member of the Arab Air Carriers Organization.

Afriqiyah Airways
الخطوط الجوية الأفريقية
IATA ICAO Callsign
Frequent-flyer programRahal
Fleet size13
Parent companyLibyan African Aviation Holding Co.
HeadquartersJanzour, Libya
Key peopleAbobakr Mohammed Alfortiya (Chairman & CEO)


Establishment and growth: 2001-2011Edit

An Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A319-100 wearing the airline's former livery.

Afriqiyah Airways was established in April 2001 and commenced scheduled services on 1 December 2001. The name Afriqiyah comes from the Arabic word for African.[3] It is wholly owned by the Libyan government and has 287 employees (at March 2007).[2] The airline started with Boeing 737-400 aircraft, but in 2003, an all-Airbus fleet was introduced.[citation needed] The Italian airline Blue Panorama jointly set up the airline with the Libyan government.[4]

The airline generated US$120 million in revenue in 2006.[5]

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.[6] The first A319 was delivered on September 8, 2008.[citation needed]

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,[7] 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.[8]

Three A330s that were delivered in 2009 were used to inaugurate new routes to Dhaka, Johannesburg and Kinshasa.[9] In the winter 2010, two new routes were added to the airline's network - Beijing and Nouakchott.[10]

In mid-October 2010, Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines (Libya's other state flag carrier) were expected to merge into one airline,[11] and, although postponed, the merger is still planned.[12][13]

Suspended operations: 2011Edit

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.[14]

Point 17 of the United Nations resolution specifically banned flights into members of the United Nations by aircraft registered in Libya (5A). 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.[15] 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.[16]

Rebuilding post-war services: 2012 onwardsEdit

An Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320-200 painted in the current livery.

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.[17] 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.[17]

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.

The airline's hub, Tripoli International Airport, has been closed since 13 July 2014 and is still shut down as of October 2016. Afriqiyah Airways currently operates a small route network out of Mitiga International Airport instead.[18]

Corporate affairsEdit


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.[17] 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,[17] and in June 2014 it was reported that the merger was "not currently being worked on".[19]

Business trendsEdit

Scant management data for Afriqiyah Airways have 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):

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Turnover (LDm) 180 183 184 195 205
Turnover (US$m) 120 124 130 135 138 140 145 163
Net profits/losses (LDm)
Net profits/losses (US$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
Notes/sources [20] [2] [20]
Civil war

Corporate identityEdit

The original logo is a reference to the Sirte Declaration.

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.[3][23] The declaration marked the formation of the African Union. 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".[24]

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.[24]

Afriqiyah Airways is one of the few airlines which doesn't serve alcoholic beverages on its flights.[25]


As of August 2016, Afriqiyah Airways operates a small network to destinations in Northern Africa as well as Istanbul in Turkey. Until the outbreak of the civil war, it used to serve several more destinations in Africa, Asia and Europe.


Current fleetEdit

As of August 2019, the Afriqiyah Airways fleet consists of an all-Airbus fleet of the following aircraft:[26][27]

Afriqiyah Airways fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
B E Total
Airbus A319-100 2 16 96 112
Airbus A320-200 7 16 126 142
Airbus A330-200 2
Airbus A330-300 1 TBA
Airbus A350-900 10[28] TBA 6 orders converted from Airbus A350-800.[29] Deal revised in 2019.[30]
Afriqiyah Airways Cargo fleet
Airbus A300-600RF 1 Cargo [31][32]
Total 13 10

Historical fleetEdit

An Airbus A340-200, registration 5A-ONE[33] was painted in the airline colours and operated as a private jet for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from 2003 to 2011 fitted with a luxurious VIP interior.[34] It was damaged during the battle at Tripoli International Airport. Stored since March 2014 in Perpignan-Rivesaltes Airport, France, under Afriqiyah colors. [35][36]

Accidents and incidentsEdit

5A-ONG, the Airbus A330-200 involved in the crash of Flight 771.
  • 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.[37] 11 crew members and 93 passengers were killed. The sole survivor was a nine-year-old Dutch boy.[38]
  • On 25 August 2011, two Afriqiyah jets were caught in the middle of a crossfire battle at Tripoli Airport. The former, an Airbus A300B4 registered 5A-IAY, was totalled and written off when a grenade hit the aircraft,[39][40] while an Airbus A320, 5A-ONK, bore severe damage when an RPG hit the wing root, possibly puncturing the centre wing tank in the process. Luckily, the A320 got out of the battle in a salvageable condition, so it was repaired and returned to service once the war ended.[citation needed][41]
  • On 20 July 2014, two Airbus A330 aircraft with 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.[42] 5A-ONF was damaged beyond repair and was written off; however, 5A-ONP suffered minor to moderate damage, and was stored for repair.[43]
  • On 23 December 2016, Flight 209 from Sebha Airport to Mitiga International Airport, operated by Airbus A320 5A-ONB was hijacked and diverted to Luqa Airport, Malta.[44]


  1. ^ "Contact Us" Afriqiyah Airways. Established on 9 November 2009. "Headquarters 273 Omar Al Mokhtar Street, P.O. BOX 83428 Tripoli-Libya"
  2. ^ a b c "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-03-27. p. 51.
  3. ^ a b 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."
  4. ^ "Libya enters Africa airline dogfight." BBC. Thursday 2 May 2002. Retrieved on 29 April 2013.
  5. ^ "Political, visa issues driving Libya's Airbus orders" Archived 2017-06-14 at the Wayback Machine, Business Intelligence Middle East Accessed May 30, 2008
  6. ^ Afriqiyah Airways Orders Archived February 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine (Airbus Press Release: July 18, 2006)
  7. ^ "A319 for Afriqiyah", Aviation Week & Space Technology, Vol. 169 No. 10, 15 September 2008, p. 16
  8. ^ "Photo 6650762". Archived from the original on 2015-05-12. Retrieved 2015-04-28. Image at website
  9. ^ (May 20, 2008), Endres, Gunter, "Libya to restructure air transport sector", FlightGlobal, accessed May 20, 2008
  10. ^ New Routes, Afriqiyah Website
  11. ^ Shuaib, Ali (September 19, 2010). "Libya's airlines expect to merge soon". Reuters. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  12. ^ "Rebuilding Libya's aviation industry crucial to economic recovery | CAPA". Centre for Aviation. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
  13. ^ Reuters "Libya wants to merge national airlines: minister." Reuters. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  14. ^ 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".
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Linsey McNeill (4 July 2012). "Afriqiyah resumes flights to Libya despite Foreign Office warning". Brussels. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  17. ^ a b c d "Libya's economy recovers as airlines restore networks post-revolution". CAPA - Centre for Aviation. Brussels. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  18. ^ "Foreign travel advice Libya". UK Government. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  19. ^ "Arabian Aerospace - Afriqiyah shelves Libyan merger amid upsurge in violence". Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  20. ^ a b "Afriqiyah Airways profile". Arab Aviation. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  21. ^ "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.[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ "Afriqiyah Airways: Strategy and Outlook for the Second Largest Airlines in Libya". Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  23. ^ "Background Information." A.I.C. Airline Industry Consultants GmbH for Afriqiyah Airways. Retrieved on April 28, 2013.
  24. ^ a b Little, Tom. "Afriqiyah launches new logo." Libya Herald. 20 December 2012. Retrieved on 28 April 2013.
  25. ^ "Major Airlines that Don't Serve Alcohol". ShawnVoyage.
  26. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2019 (Part One)". Airliner World. October 2019: 19.
  27. ^ "Afriqiyah Airways fleet". Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  28. ^ 16 January 2014. "Afriqiyah Airways places firm order for four more A350 XWBs | Airbus News & Events". Retrieved 2014-01-17.
  29. ^ "Afriqiyah Airways Orders 4 A350-900s". 2012-11-19. Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
  30. ^ Rivers, Martin. "Afriqiyah Airways Targets 20-Strong Fleet In Revised Airbus Deal". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
  31. ^ "Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A300 photo by L.Y.S AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY". Retrieved 2016-10-31.
  32. ^ "Afriqiyah Airways 5A-ONS (Airbus A300 - MSN 788) (Ex A6-MXA A6-SRI B-18503 ) | Airfleets aviation". Retrieved 2016-10-31.
  33. ^ ""
  34. ^ - Spuren des Despoten: Schöner Fliegen mit Gaddafi-Air (German) 29 August 2011
  35. ^ - Criminal Occurrence retrieved 7 August 2016
  36. ^ [1] retrieved 16 January 2018
  37. ^ "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.
  38. ^ 2012
  39. ^ "PICTURES: Two A300s destroyed in Tripoli conflict - 8/26/2011". Flight Global. 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
  40. ^ "5A-IAY Hull-loss description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  41. ^ Salama, Vivian (26 August 2011). "Tripoli Airport Attacked by Qaddafi Forces". Bloomberg.
  42. ^ "[Photo] Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330 hit by rocket is consumed by fire at Tripoli International airport". The Aviationist. 2014-07-20. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  43. ^ "12 Airplanes Damaged At Tripoli Airport Civil Aviation Forum -". Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  44. ^ "5A-ONB Hijacking description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 23 December 2016.

External linksEdit