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Libya gets first Boeing airliner in 30 years
Source: BI-ME , Author: BI-ME staff
Posted: Tue October 31, 2006 12:00 am

LIBYA. A Boeing jetliner was delivered to Libya this week for the first time in 30 years after the privately-owned Buraq Air bought six of the US-made aircraft, the company said.

"Buraq Air will take delivery tomorrow [Sunday] of a Boeing 737-800," the carrier's Moncef Elies said.

In February last year the company signed a contract with Boeing to buy six 737-800s for US$366 million, its Chairman Mohammed Abedel Aziz said. The price of the contract includes aircrew training and maintenance.

A second aircraft will be delivered in mid-November, Elies said, without saying when the airline expects the final four aircraft to enter service.

Buraq Air, Libya's first private airline, was established in 2001. It currently owns six aircraft with seven more on lease, and operates services between the interior and the main coastal cities of Tripoli and Benghazi.

The modernisation of its fleet will enable Buraq Air to compete with the country's national carrier, Libyan Airlines.

Libya and the United States began normalising relations after Tripoli's decision at the end of 2003 to renounce weapons of mass destruction.

The two countries now have normal diplomatic relations, and Washington has lifted most of the sanctions that it imposed on Libya, which for years featured on the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism. Sanctions on Libyan air transport were lifted in July.

Washington severed ties with Libya in 1981 and began imposing sanctions two years after radical students ransacked the US embassy in Tripoli. An alleged Libyan-backed attack on a Berlin disco popular with Americans in 1986 spurred the US to launch air raids against the Libyan capital, killing 41 people.

Libya in 2003 accepted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of a US Pan Am jet over the Scottish town of Lockerbie that killed 270 people, and agreed to pay families of victims US$10 million each in compensation.

 

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