Tunisia to open up airspace for flights to Tripoli

17 March 2015 (Last Updated March 17th, 2015 18:30)

Tunisia will re-open part of its airspace after six months for flights operating from western Libya after its consulate in Tripoli was restored.

Tunisia will re-open part of its airspace after six months for flights operating from western Libya after its consulate in Tripoli was restored.

Tunisia, along with Egypt, ceased the operations of all flights to and from Tripoli and other airports in western Libya that were outside the control of the official government last August, after unidentified war planes attacked positions of armed groups in Tripoli.

Before that, there were almost daily flights from both Tunisia and Egypt to Libya.

"We decided today to reopen Tunisian airspace to Libyan flights from Maitiga and Misrata airports."

However, Tunisia had not stopped the flights from Tunisia's capital Tunis to eastern Libya.

Libya has been engulfed in political unrest since the ouster of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country is experiencing a battle between Islamist forces and forces aligned with the Libyan Parliament and General Khalifa Haftar.

Since the inception of the unrest, the country's internationally recognised administration has been based in the east after a battle with an armed group resulted in the latter capturing Tripoli and parts of western Libya.

Reuters quoted a top official in Tunisian civil aviation Hatem Mootamri as saying: "We decided today to reopen Tunisian airspace to Libyan flights from Maitiga (Tripoli) and Misrata airports. The first trip will be next Friday from Maitiga to Sfax airport in Tunisia."

Reportedly, the flight will commence on March 20.

Although Tunisia reopened its consulate in Tripoli last month, it is worried that the effect of the violence in Libya could affect Tunisia.

Last year, two Tunisian journalists working in Libya were kidnapped by gunmen. However, nothing is known about their fate.