World (AP)

Italy and Libya resume commercial flights after 10-year hiatus, officials say | AP News

Italy and Libya resume commercial flights after 10-year hiatus, officials say | AP News

CAIRO (AP) — Italy and war-torn Libya on Saturday resumed commercial flights for the first time in a decade, authorities in the Libyan capital said.

Flight MT522, operated by the Libyan carrier Medsky Airways, departed Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli for Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport, according to Libyan airport authorities.

A return flight was scheduled to land in Tripoli on Saturday afternoon, according to Mitiga International Airport. Going forward, there will be one round-trip flight between the Libyan and Italian capitals on both Saturdays and Wednesdays, according to the Mitiga airport announcement.

The government of Prime Minister Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah in Tripoli lauded the resumed flights, posting photos on social media that showed passengers boarding the flight and officials celebrating.

Italy and other western nations banned flights from Libya as the oil-rich nation in North Africa plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

In the disarray that followed, the country split into rival administrations in the east and west, each backed by rogue militias and foreign governments.

Amid the chaos, Libya has had direct flights to limited destinations, including cities in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia, and other Middle Eastern countries, such as Jordan.

The government of Premier Giorgia Meloni in July lifted Italy’s 10-year ban on civil aviation in Libya. Italian and Libyan authorities agreed that one airline company from each country would operate flights between the two capitals.

Dbeibah subsequently returned from attending a conference on migration in Rome on a chartered flight with a commercial airline.