Tripoli closes airspace
Tripoli has now closed its airspace and an Egypt Air aircraft circling outside Libyan airspace has not been allowed it, according to Air Malta’s Crisis Operations Room visited this afternoon by Finance Minister Tonio Fenech.
Pilot Charles Pace, who operated Air Malta’s flight from Tripoli which landed here at 1.30 p.m., said that the apron in Tripoli was now practically deserted and the feeling was an eerie one with the situation being very different to that described by the pilots who had operated earlier flights.
He said there was absolute calm and emptiness with very little happening.
Air Malta’s country manager in Libya Anthony Dalli returned to Malta from Tripoli today. He said there had been around 6,000 people at Tripoli Airport and another 2,000 outside and Air Malta representatives had run in and out of the terminal carrying a Maltese flag to attract the attention of the Maltese.
One of the people on the Crisis Intervention Team, who represented the airline’s insurers, said that Libya had been declared a war zone and as a result the premium the airline had to pay for each flight had shot up.
It was pointed out that pilots and crew operating to Libya were doing so voluntarily.
On their way to Tripoli Airport, people were stopped and checked and their their mobile phones, cameras and other equipment was being taken away.