Tripoli Airport Is Back In Business

September 19, 2011

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Tripoli's international airport is ready to operate flights less than a month after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi, authorities said.

Mukhtar al-Akhdar, a military official in charge of the airport, told reporters damage caused during the uprising has been repaired, the facility was "totally secure" and he hoped it would start operations by Thursday.

"The airport is ready for planes to arrive and depart," he said. "We had to do some maintenance on the runway due to the shelling of the (Gaddafi) militia, which is now fixed. We cleared the remains of the planes that were destroyed by the militia."

Diplomats say Libyan civil airliners and flights carrying official delegations are allowed to fly provided they notify monitors of their flight plans in order to avoid NATO attack.

The UN Security Council resolution imposed in March a no-fly zone for civilian flights over the country as part of international efforts to protect anti-government protesters under attack from Gaddafi loyalists.

Libyan Arab Airlines and the ports of Tripoli, Al Khoms, Brega, Ras Lanuf, Zawiyah and Zuara were among the 28 Libyan entities, along with oil firms and banks, to be freed from restrictions on September 2.

The formal lifting of the sanctions came a day after world powers meeting in Paris freed up billions of dollars to help Libya's new rulers rebuild the nation after 42 years of Gaddafi's rule and six months of civil war.

(Reuters)