5 Facts about Afriqiyah Airways

Afriqiyah Airways - Libyan airline

Discover more about Afriqiyah Airways, an airline based in Tripoli, Libya in North Africa.

1. They are one of two State-owned airlines

Libya has two State-owned airlines – Afriqiuah Airways and Libyan Airlines.

There has been a discussion that the two airlines would be merged in 2010, and although this has been postponed, it’s still likely to occur in the near future.

2. They operate an all-Airbus fleet

Currently, they Afriqiyah Airways operates a fleet of 9 Airbus aircraft, including five A320 and two A319. The North African airline also has several A350’s on order. These aircraft are set to help them expand their international capabilities. They are expected to begin delivery in 2020.

The company previously owned Boeing 737-400 prior to 2013.

Afriqiyah Airways - Libyan Airline

3. The turtle dove is featured on their livery

In 2012, Afriqiyah revealed a new livery. The aircraft feature a white fuselage and a black tail fin with three blue stripes. These represent the neck marking of the Turtle Dove.

This will replace the colourful 9.9.99 livery which was previously used.

It’s not clear why the turtle dove was chosen for the livery.

Afriqiyah Airways - Libyan Airlie - old livery

4. Their home base remains closed

The airline’s hub, Tripoli International Airport, has been closed since 2014. Currently, Afriqiyah Airways operates its network from Mitiga International Airport, located about

Mitiga International Airport was originally built as an Italian air force base in 1923. before it became a German airbase during World War II. It has also been controlled by the British 8th Army, US Army Forces, Soviets, and Libyan Army. It was finally converted to a civilian airport in 1995.

5. What’s in a name?

It’s pretty simple really! The name Afriqiyah comes from the Arabic word for African.

The official language of Libya is Arabic, and local Libyan Arabic is commonly spoken alongside Modern Standard Arabic.

The majority of the Libyan population today identifies as Arab, that is, Arabic-speaking and Arab-cultured.


In August 2007, Afriqiyah Airways Flight 209 was hijacked by two men when travelling domestically between Sabha International Airport and Tripoli. The hijackers denied the aircraft permission to land in Tripoli and forced the pilots to fly to Malta.

Unbelievably, the film Entebbe was being filmed that day at Malta International Airport. Entebbe is about the 1976 hijacking of Air France Flight 139 and Operation Entebbe. Scenes from the Afriqiyah Airways hijacking was used in the movie, including scenes showing the hostages exiting the aircraft.

Producer Melvin Rotherberg has qualified this “real-life event” as a “blessing from the sky on a day of bad acting.” Some passengers were subsequently cast as supporting actors in the movie.

Discover more facts about Africa’s airlines:

Facts about Libyan Airlines
[Coming soon!]

Facts about Ethiopian Airlines
[Coming soon!]

Facts about South African Airlines
[Coming soon!]

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