TUNIS: TunisAir announced yesterday it has resumed flights to Libya, becoming the first foreign carrier to fly the route for seven years in the wake of UN-sponsored peace efforts. Its planes landed Monday in both the capital Tripoli and Benghazi, Libya's second city, the company said, adding that the event was celebrated with hoses firing water arches on arrival.

It has scheduled three flights a week to Tripoli and two to Benghazi in eastern Libya. The Libya Observer tweeted that the first plane landed at Mitiga airport used to serve the capital. TunisAir was also the last foreign airline to suspend flights to Libya in August 2014 because of insecurity. International flights, to Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt, have been operated by Libyan companies, which do not have access to European airspace.

Oil-rich Libya has been torn by conflict since the toppling and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi a decade ago. In October 2020, rival groups signed a truce, setting in motion a UN-led process that saw a new transitional government installed. The new executive is charged with organizing national elections set for December 2021. - AFP