Italy first in EU to resume flights to Libya

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Car Rental News - 03/11/2011


Italy has become the EU’s first nation to once again offer commercial flight service to and from Libya.

Some 100 passengers, including many diplomatic officials and religious leaders, flew from Rome to Tripoli via Alitalia’s newly reopened route between the two countries following the recent overthrow of long-term dictator Moamar Kaddafi. Italy’s new ambassador to Libya, Goffredo Buccino, met the flight upon arrival at Tripoli International Airport.

The Italian foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said that by becoming Europe’s first nation to reinstate air travel with Libya that Italy had showed it would continue its role as a leader in Libyan affairs. He said that the recommencement of the air link was an ‘important signal’ for renormalizing the North African country, for its economy and for keeping bilateral ties strong with one of its closest friends.

The news comes as many Italian firms fear they will lose contracts with the oil-rich nation in favour of those that played a major role in the overthrow of Kaddafi’s Government.

Meanwhile, Austrian Airlines and BMI are set to reinstate service to Tripoli before the end of the year whilst Egypt Air and Turkish Airlines have already done so. Air France said earlier in the year it could soon reopen its Paris-Tripoli route after closing it in 1989 following an attack amid the flight that caused a crash in the Nigerian desert, killing 170 people.

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