Fighting in Tripoli and Benghazi is the worst since the Arab Spring of 2011 and the Libyan civil war that ended Muammar Gaddafi's rule of the country. With increasing international worries that Libya is becoming a failed state, many expatriates are being evacuated for their own safety, whether by homeland governments or by companies for their employees.
Air Charter Service has recently become involved as CEO, Justin Bowman, explains: “We are chartering a variety of aircraft to help fly from the country and, with the violence centred around Tripoli and Benghazi, as well as attacks on their airports, we have used smaller airports – Misrata is around 100 kilometres east of Tripoli and Al Abraq is the same distance east of Benghazi. In 2011 we flew almost 15,000 people out of Libya - and Tunisia where some had fled to - so we are well versed in what it takes to run successful mass evacuations.
“So far we have flown the evacuees into Istanbul and Dubai, using MD83 and B737 aircraft, but have further aircraft chartered over the weekend. We have received more requests and are keeping on top of all security factors such as which airports are open and safe to fly from as well as airspace restrictions.”
So far the company has almost one thousand people either evacuated or booked onto their charter flights with more expected to follow.
Bowman concluded: “We are currently also receiving requests for evacuation charters from Western Africa to escape the Ebola virus outbreak in the region.”