Libyan Arab Airlines close to $1.5 billion aircraft order
Dateline: Thursday October 07, 2004
Libyan Arab Airlines Chairman Hussein Dabnon told ATWOnline in Tripoli that the carrier is near to finalizing an order for 24 aircraft valued at "$1-1.5 billion" that will enable it to establish its own worldwide network.
Of the orders, 21 will be for aircraft in the 737/A320 family size range and the remaining three will be widebodies--possibly A330-200s or 777-200s. He could not provide a specific date for the order, however.
A source close to the airline's management told this website that "for political reasons, it is possible that the order will be split between Airbus and Boeing." The source also said that new aircraft should join Libyan at the latest within one year. Meanwhile, the lease of other aircraft should help to cover demand.
With the lifting of UN sanctions and a trade embargo, the former pariah state is coming in from the cold and the national airline plans to serve 39 destinations by 2009 at the latest.
"Tripoli is geographically perfectly located as a hub for Africa from Europe, as well between the East and West," said Dabnon. Long-haul operations to Bangkok, Beijing, Karachi, Manila, Delhi, New York and Rio de Janeiro will start as soon aircraft are available. "I'm very optimistic that we will have traffic rights to the US in a short time," he added.
Libyan currently operates two A300-600s, three 727-200s, two F28s and one A320 leased from Nouvelleair to 26 destinations. The next new destination will be Frankfurt.
The carrier recently signed its first international codeshare agreement, with Austrian Airlines on the Tripoli-Vienna route. The service will be operated with Austrian F70s three times a week, rising to four times weekly by Dec 1 and becoming daily in 2005.--Kurt Hofmann