British airlines cancel flights to Libya

Hotel News - 24/02/2011

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Two British airlines have cancelled flights to and from Libya as the government warns UK nationals to leave the North African country on commercial flights.

On Tuesday, both British Midland International and British Airways cancelled services to the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Other carriers are expected to do the same.

Some 3,500 Britons were thought to be living in Libya. Most of those are thought to have left the strife-torn country already.

Britain’s Foreign Office said two days ago it was looking into chartering a flight to help Britons who cannot get out on commercial flights. The Netherlands, Italy and Greece are sending transport aircraft to get their nationals out of Libya. Portugal and Austria have already evacuated their citizens by air.

Some Britons have criticized the UK government for doing nothing to help. Though the Foreign Commonwealth Office warned Britons to leave Libya, relatives of people still stuck in Tripoli said no flights are available.

Confusion appears to surround the availability of flights out of Libya. Afriqiyah Airways normally operates flights between Tripoli and Gatwick.

Some reservations agents claim the flights are still operating normally. At Gatwick, however, officials said Afriqiyah’s Tripoli-Gatwick service was subject to delays.

Libyan Airlines operates daily flights between Tripoli and Manchester Airport. A spokesperson at the airport said the service had been suspended.

Neither the Libyan offices of Afriqiyah Airways nor the Heathrow offices of Libyan Airlines could be reached by telephone. As a result of the interruptions to commercial flights, the Foreign Office announced earlier today that it had arranged a charter flight out of Gatwick. That flight was expected to arrive in Libya late yesterday.

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