Direct commercial flights between Rome and Tripoli officially recommenced this month, in a positive step forward for Libya’s transit and trade connections with the European Union.

Following the successful completion of a test flight between Tripoli and Rome earlier in the summer, regular direct commercial flights between Libya and Italy are now in operation.

Simultaneous to the resumption of flights, both Libya and Italy’s civil aviation authorities signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in civil aviation. It is understood that the memorandum covers, among other things, an agreement to facilitate the commercial chartering of regular flights between the two countries.

The resumption of flights between Tripoli and Rome occurs after a nearly decade-long hiatus since the introduction of an EU ban on Libyan aircraft in European airspace in 2014.

While the ban is currently still in place, Libya is seeking its complete removal in light of the country’s aims to establish stability and re-emerge as a key global player. Authorities have developed a plan in this regard and the resumption of regular flights with Italy form part of the strategy.

Additionally, as part of Libya’s broader ambitions to increase international transit and trade, it is seeking to re-open many of its airports which closed during the last decade, and to further develop and advance the country’s airport infrastructure.

Most recently, for example, the southwestern airport of Ubari reopened, and this reintroduces many benefits to the region, including opportunities for international trade and improved potential for transit trade with Sahel and Sub-Saharan regions.

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