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Mon 17 Oct 2011 06:08 PM

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Etihad Airways plans to launch flights to Tripoli

Abu Dhabi carrier will operate three flights a week once NATO no-fly zone is lifted

Etihad Airways plans to launch flights to Tripoli

Etihad Airways announced on Monday it would soon begin flights to Tripoli once it has been given security clearance.

The Libyan capital will become the fifth North African destination for the carrier, the Abu Dhabi carrier said in a statement.

James Hogan, CEO, said the airline was planning three flights a week to Tripoli.

“As soon as the NATO no-fly zone is lifted, the airport is declared safe and all appropriate infra-structure is in place we will be able to begin services,” he said.

The return flights, to be operated by an Airbus A330-200, should be on sale within weeks, he added.

Hogan said the proposed schedule would allow maximum connectivity over Abu Dhabi for flights from North and South Asia and the Indian Subcontinent as well as serving strong point to point traffic.

He said the new services would further strengthen links with Tripoli as the UAE was among the first to recognise the new government of Libya and to provide political, military and humanitarian support for the country.

British Airways (BA) said on Friday it was still assessing the security risks of flying to Libya's capital Tripoli and will not resume operations before the NATO no-fly zone is lifted.

The British flag-carrier said it plans to begin a review of the security risks of flying to the capital, Tripoli, but has no date to restart flights.

"We will be looking at opportunities to resume our operations when the no-fly zone, which currently bars commercial operations and only allows limited charter flights for specific purposes, is lifted," BA's international risk advisor William Sandover told Reuters.

IAG-owned BA suspended its daily flight to Tripoli from London's Heathrow airport in February. In June BA said it hoped to resume its Libyan services at the end of October but this now looks unlikely.

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