The Libyan National Army (LNA) reportedly ordered the suspension of flights to and from Sabha Airport (SEB) on Tuesday, September 29, without specifying why. The order comes despite the airport's alleged reopening and the first passenger flight in six years landing at SEB earlier this month, along with the expectation of a new flight schedule for the airport. The decision has attracted calls from airport officials for the suspension of work at the airport, and to stress that the Civil Aviation Authority and Airport Authority are the only two entities that have the authority to suspend and/or allow flights.
Separately, local media sources reported on Wednesday, September 30, that militias loyal to the LNA prevented an Afriqiyah Airways flight from landing at SEB and ordered it to return to Tripoli's Mitiga International Airport (MJI). The plane was reportedly carrying passengers and money for banks. It remains unclear as to why the flight was prevented from landing, and whether or not it is linked to the alleged suspension of flights at Sabha.
Disruptions to travel to and from SEB are to be anticipated in the immediate term. A heightened security presence is also to be expected in the vicinity of the airport.
Those traveling via SEB are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate residual delays, and confirm flight reservations.
The security environment in Libya remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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