Libyan Airlines to create leisure operation

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Libyan Airlines is planning to create a separate leisure brand which it will use to boost its passenger numbers and load factors.

Tripoli-based Libyan Airlines, which serves destinations in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, is planning to roll out the new leisure venture when it receives the first of its seven new Airbus A320s next autumn.

Speaking to ATI at the AFRAA annual general assembly in Maputo, Libyan Airlines chief Capt Mohamed Ibsem said: "We have an idea to create some kind of holiday business, offering inclusive tours to destinations in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and other places like that."

Libyan Airlines will offer holiday packages, including flights and accommodation, introducing a new brand to keep the product isolated from its normal regional operations.

The aircraft will be used for both regular flying and the new leisure services, so configurations will remain largely the same, but the on-board product may be "a little different" from its standard service, says Ibsem.

"It will be a separate operation, but it will be organised by Libyan Airlines," he adds. "Our target is to attract more passengers and help increase the load factor of our aircraft. By the time out first A320 is delivered, around September 2010, we should have the brand ready."

Within its core operation, Libyan Airlines is also looking to increase frequencies and add new destinations in Europe and the Middle East. It is also seeking new codeshare partnerships.

Ibsem says: "We don't serve many points in Eastern Europe, so that would fit in quite nicely. We intend to operate to Moscow, Belgrade, probably to Prague and also to France. I don't think it will be Paris, though, because [Libyan carrier] Afriqiyah Airways already flies there.

"We are also trying to increase our points of operation in Italy and, as far as the Arab world is concerned, we would probably make arrangements to fly to Baghdad."