Turkish passengers leaving Turkish Airlines flight that arrived at Maitiga Airport
A Turkish Airlines passenger plane landed in Tripoli Saturday noon to become the first international commercial flight to arrive in the Libyan capital since the establishment of a no-fly zone in war-torn Libya in March, a Libyan aviation official said.
The flight from Istanbul, with 43 passengers on board, arrived at the Maitiga International Airport in eastern Tripoli, at about 11:50 local time, he said.
A crew member of the Boeing 737-800 who identified himself as Ahmed, said that Turkish flights to Libya had been suspended since February 28 as Libya gradually sank into domestic chaos,.
He went on to say that after the resumption of the route,there will be flights between Istanbul and Tripoli every four days, adding that daily flights might be possible at the end of October.
Turkish Airlines had already resumed flights from Istanbul to Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, on September 13.
In March, the UN Security Council passed a resolution imposing a "no-fly zone" over Libya aimed at protecting civilians from air assaults by the deposed former Libyan leader Muammar Al Qathafi, halting all international commercial flights from and to the Libyan capital.
More airlines are expected to follow the Turkish Airlines' example in the coming days and resume flights to Libya, but flights will return to normal when Tripoli International Airport is functioning again. Alitalia has already announced it would resume service on November 7, when the Tripoli airport is expected to be cleared.