Meeting experts from Libyan Airports Authority
We recently received a visit from a delegation from the Libyan Airport Authority at our Malaga (Spain) headquarters as part of a project to update the Master Plan of the International Airport of Misrata in Libya, which included training by AERTEC on how to develop a master plan.
“We need Spain’s experience in the field of aviation”
To learn more about the airport situation in the North African country, we spoke with Waleed S. Haddaqah, Director of the Construction Department, and Wael Saeid Aishawish, Head of the Design and Specifications Department.
What is the current situation of the airport sector in Libya?
We have 12 airports in Libya, 7 of which are international. But given the current context, only four are providing services to airlines and passengers. The situation of each of these airports is different.
In some, we have ongoing works and improvements, and for others we are doing studies and master plans, but we are working with the lowest traffic airports. We want to develop and improve the facilities so they can provide better services to both passengers and airlines.
How is air traffic trending in the country? Which airports are growing the most?
The trend is positive, the international airports of Tripoli and Mitiga in particular are growing at a faster rate. There are many ongoing projects in the latter, such as the expansion of the terminal building. We are doing maintenance tasks on the apron, connections and taxiway. We had previously done preventive maintenance on the runway and other areas.
We are also developing and adding new facilities to improve the infrastructure.
Planning for the future. What are your forecasts for adding new destinations and airlines?
We are interfacing with different airlines, who are formulating their demands. We are working to address them. That is why it is very important to proceed with the certification of Libyan airports, an area in which we are relying on the support and advice of AERTEC. If we manage to get these four airports in our country certified, it will be easier for airlines to fly to new destinations.
What are the short- and medium-term priorities of the Libyan Airport Authority with regard to infrastructure construction?
Right now we are focused on drafting the master plan for Misrata Airport, which we are working on together with AERTEC. We also have a master plan for Tripoli Airport, and we are studying a tender for international companies to start the reconstruction of this airport soon.
One of our goals is to encourage investment in airports in western Libya. Some companies are demanding that we invest there, given their favourable conditions for aircraft maintenance and parking, for example.
We also want to be in the traffic flow of aeroplanes from Europe to parts of southern Africa, as a refuelling stop, and take advantage of the lower fuel prices in Libya. To do that, we have to open up our airspace, which has restrictions due to the political situation, but it is a necessary measure that will result in increased tax revenue and income.
The incorporation of new technologies is essential for airport management. What are your priorities in the field of technology?
Without a doubt, incorporating the latest technology into our airports is one of the priorities of the Libyan Airport Authority, where we have a department that is working precisely towards this goal. For example, smart airports, smart luggage storage, smart boarding card. We are working with and contracting international companies that provide technology to adapt airport facilities to current demands.
Libya and Spain are collaborating in aviation issues, especially in training. What actions are being taken in this regard and how is the exchange of experiences going?
These days of training at AERTEC have helped us to exchange many experiences, and above all to work with the information needed to jointly develop master plans. Knowing first-hand the work that AERTEC has done at Benina International Airport in Benghazi will greatly facilitate our future planning.
We are confident that we will continue to engage in this cooperation between Libya and Spain, especially in the field of aviation, because we need your experience in this sector. Thanks to this training activity, we were able to share knowledge with AERTEC’s experts, so we hope to be able to do more training courses like this one, both in Spain and Libya.
The president of the Libyan Airport Authority, Mr Mohammed Bait Al-Mal, is going to great lengths to improve our experience in the airport sector with support from Spanish companies. And this will be reflected in the development and performance of our airports and in the field of aviation in the future.