Italy & Libya Restart Commercial Flights After 10 Years

  •  Italy and Libya have resumed commercial flights after a 10-year hiatus, with a flight from Tripoli to Rome operated by Medsky Airways.
  •  The resumption of flights is significant as it indicates efforts to lift the European ban on Libyan civil aviation.
  •  Medsky Airways, in collaboration with Malta’s MedAir, operates flights to destinations including Malta, Istanbul, Misrata, and Tobruk.

Italy and Libya have resumed commercial flights following almost a 10-year break, according to a report by the Associated Press (AP). The news came after Italy lifted the ban introduced back in 2014, allowing Libyan airlines to enter its airspace.

The flight MT522 departed Libya’s capital, Tripoli (MJI), bound for Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) in Italy on September 30, 2023. According to Flightradar24.com, the flight took approximately an hour and 40 minutes and was operated by Libyan carrier Medsky Airways. A return flight landed in Tripoli on Saturday afternoon.

The airline operated this flight with a wet-leased Airbus A320-200 aircraft, registered as 9H-MSA, operated by Malta’s MedAir on behalf Medsky Airways. The airline also has another Airbus A320-200, registered as 5A-MSB, according to ch-aviation.com. Medsky Airways will offer two-weekly flights to Italy’s capital on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Importance of this flight

The resumption of commercial scheduled flights between Libya and Italy bear much importance. In 2014, the European Union barred Libyan airlines from entering its airspace in the aftermath of the civil war.

Now, with this resumption, Libya anticipates the EU to lift the ban as part of “intensive government efforts to lift the European ban on Libyan civil aviation.”

In addition to flight resumption, Italian and Libyan aviation authorities signed a MoU aimed at further developing air links between the two countries. In July 2023, the Italian carrier ITA operated a test flight from Rome to Tripoli, carrying Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dabaiba, who announced the return of direct flights to Italy this September.

Notably, Malta is another country that permits commercial flights from Libya. Established in 2022, Medsky Airways, a newcomer to the African aviation market, partnered with Malta’s MedAir and entered into a wet lease agreement for two aircraft, enabling the airline to operate flights to Malta.

The airline’s wet-leased Airbus A320-200, registered as 9H-MSA, is currently registered in Malta and operated by MedAir on behalf of Medsky Airways, as per information from Planespotters.net. Another Airbus A320, formerly registered as 9H-MSB, was also under a wet lease agreement. However, this aircraft has since changed its registration to 5A-MSB.

While the airline’s official website is not functional, with the assistance of Flightradar24.com, it is possible to observe that it offers international flights to Istanbul (IST), Malta (MLA), along with several domestic destinations such as Misrata (MRA) and Tobruk (TOB), among others.

By Mian Saeed Ahmed Khan