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Airline Startup: Malta’s MedAir Offers Creative Solution To Libyan EU Ban

A new airline seeks to link Lybia and Europe once again. Medsky Airways, short for Mediterranean Sky, has begun flights between the two countries this month after obtaining two Airbus A320s from Malta MedAir to begin service.

Scheduled charter flights between Misrata to Malta commenced this month, in conjunction with Maltese government-owned airline Malta MedAir. Medsky Airways is the first Libyan commercial airline to fly to Europe since 2014, the year that all Libyan airlines were added to the EU Air Safety List and banned from flying to EU countries in the aftermath of the civil war.

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Passengers traveling to Europe from Lybia are required to fly first to a destination such as Turkey, Egypt, or Tunisia before they connect to their final destination. The CEO of MedSky Airways, Abubaker Elfortia, spoke to Malta’s TVMnews and elaborated the reasoning behind the collaboration:

“It will serve a lot of people which are getting a lot of hassle to get from Libya to Malta and to Libya. We know that some people, to get to Malta, they have to travel through Tunisia or to Istanbul and it takes a night to get to Malta from Libya so that’s why we got together to find the solution and this is the solution.”

The airline will fly two Airbus A320s from Malta MedAir.

The airline has procured two Airbus A320-200 aircraft for operations which are configured with a two-class cabin. The aircraft, bearing the registrations 9H-MSA and 9H-MSB, were previously operated by Saudia and Kuwait Airways before relocating to the Mediterranian nation with Malta MedAir earlier this year. The first was sent to be painted in Medsky Airways livery in Shannon, Ireland, before returning to Malta in advance of its inaugural flight.

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The first flight departed from Malta International Airport on Saturday evening and touched down at Misrata International Airport in the north of Libya shortly later. The airport is located 100 miles east of Tripoli and doubles as the primary airport for the Lybian capital when the airport is rendered inoperable.

The flight then departed for Sofia and landed at the Bulgarian airport shortly after midnight the following morning. On Twitter, the Maltese ambassador to Libya, Charles Saliba, shared photos of a MedSky aircraft at Misratah Airport. The post also hinted that the airline would be announcing flights to other Libyan cities in the coming days.

The collaboration also brings a boost to the local Maltese economy as the flight crew, maintenance team, and ancillary services (such as catering services) are based with the aircraft in Malta.

The island nation remains a popular place to register aircraft. Malta’s convenient location in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea places it within easy reach of Europe and Northern Africa. Commercial operators such as Hi Fly, Corendon, SmartLynx, as well as Ryanair subsidiaries Lauda Europe and Malta Air all have registered aircraft in Malta.

The airline hinted it would be announcing new routes and destinations shortly. Photo Medsky Airways

The European Union member state provides competitive corporate tax rates for aviation purposes without placing restrictions on the nationality of shareholders and directors of Maltese aviation companies.


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