The Libyan carrier, one of two national airlines, aims to launch direct flights between Tripoli and Dubai later in 2008, using two Airbus A319 aircraft that were delivered earlier this year.

In 2009, the airline plans to launch routes to South Africa and China, using three long-range A330 planes.

“The A330s will arrive from May next year and we hope to begin flying to South Africa, Beijing and Guangzhou,” says a senior official at the airline.

Afriqiyah is due to merge with Libya’s other national carrier, Libyan Airlines, in 2009 ahead of a privatisation of the joint company (MEED 26:7:08).