Afriqiyah orders three A330s while another is hit in gun attack
Libya's Afriqiyah Airways has upgraded an order with Airbus for three aircraft from A321s to the widebody A330s.
In the latest figures shown by Airbus the Libyan Airline placed the order during the Farnborough Airshow. At the same time the manufacturer removed three A321s for the carrier from its order books.
Afriqiyah Aviation – the parent company of Libyan Airlines and Afriqiya Airways has also just leased two A330s to meet unprecedented demand from Libyan pilgrims wanting to perform Umrah during Ramadan.
The Saudi embassy in Tripoli has approved a record number of Umrah visas for Libyans during Ramadan and despite daily flights from both Libyan carriers there has been insufficient capacity to meet demand.
Afriqiyah Airways has also been hit again by the aftermath of the war that saw the removal of President Gadaffi and the old Libyan regime. On Tuesday, an Airbus 330 that had been prepared for Umrah flights was hit by a bullet fired by an unknown gunman and rendered unusable until repaired.
Afriqiyah has been suspending a number of its core African flights as most of them depended on transit passengers coming from Europe. According to the undersecretary at the Ministry of Transport, Fawzi Bitamer, most European airlines are not operating into Libya. He said the carrier was therefore reconsidering its route strategy.
Libyan aircraft are still banned from flying to EU airports because of issues over maintenance documentation and personnel certification. This is unlikely to be resolved for at least three months.