TRIPOLI, Libya: Italy and Libya resumed commercial flights for the first time in ten years on September 30, with flight MT522, operated by the Libyan carrier Medsky Airways, departing Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli for Rome's Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport, according to Libyan authorities.
Hamdi al-Zanad, head of Medsky, said there were 25 passengers on the flight.
Mitiga International Airport said that a return flight was scheduled to land in Tripoli the same day in the afternoon. There will be round-trip flights between the Libyan and Italian capitals on Saturdays and Wednesdays.
The government of Libyan Prime Minister Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah lauded the resumption of flights.
After a NATO-backed uprising disposed of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and plunged the oil-rich North African nation into chaos, Italy and other Western countries have banned flights from Libya.
Amid the chaos, with the country splitting into rival administrations in the east and west, each backed by rogue militias and foreign governments, Libya has only had direct flights to limited destinations, including cities in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia, and other Middle Eastern countries, such as Jordan.
In July, the government of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni 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.