Afriqiyah Airways prepares for lifting of EU ban

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Afriqiyah Airways expects to launch a raft of new services in late 2012, with a spokesman voicing optimism that the EU's ban on Libyan carriers will expire unchallenged.

"It looks like the EU will lift the restriction on Libyan aircraft flying over and into the airspace on 22 November," the spokesman says.

In lieu of an extension to the ban, flights from Tripoli to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport will start on 1 December. Tripoli services to Casablanca and Dubai will also begin shortly after the Hajj season winds down.

At the airline's second base in Benghazi, flights to Rome, Dubai and possibly London or Manchester will get underway in December. Benghazi-Khartoum services will also be added shortly.

Afriqiyah already flies to London Gatwick airport from Tripoli, circumventing the EU ban with a six-month wet lease of an Air Moldova A320 (MSN 741).

The EU imposed its ban after voicing concerns about Tripoli's investigation into the May 2010 crash of an Afriqiyah A330.