A new bird takes to the skies

Robin Brown takes off with Afriqiyah Air­ways, a new kid on the block

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

SOUTH Afr i cans want­ing to travel t o Europe now have a new choice in air­line as Afriqiyah Air­ways flies out of OR Tambo on Tues­days and Satur­days to Tripoli and re­turns Mon­days and Fri­days.

Es­tab­lished in April 2001, and com­menc­ing ser­vice in De­cem­ber the same year, it has now added Jo­han­nes­burg to its sched­ules.

Afriqiyah Air­ways, the Ara­bic word for “African”, the fledg­ling air­line op­er­ates be­tween Tripoli and Beng­hazi, and in­ter­na­tion­ally to 24 des­ti­na­tions in Europe, Africa and the Mid­dle East, and China will be added early in 2010.

With its main base in Tripoli the gov­ern­ment-owned air­line car­ries the 9.9.99 logo, re­fer­ring to the Sirte Dec­la­ra­tion which marked the for­ma­tion of the African Union.

The idea was for Afriqiyah to be the “Air­line of Africa” with its hub in Tripoli.

It op­er­ates an all-Air­bus fleet and for the Jo­han­nes­burg route it has ob­tained the new Air­bus A330-200.

The air­craft has a two class con­fig­u­ra­tion – busi­ness and econ­omy class.

Wolf­gang Gehring, se­nior man­age­ment con­sul­tant, avi­a­tion and tourism for the air­line and based in Tripoli says the air­line is a mem­ber of the Arab Air Car­ri­ers Or­gan­i­sa­tion and the In­ter­na­tional Air Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion (IATA). Afriqiyah is ISO and IOSA cer­ti­fied. Full em­pha­sis has been put on safety and the air­line has com­plied with and ex­ceeded all safety reg­u­la­tions, he says.

Now the air­line has called in the as­sis­tance of a French con­sul­tant to over­see and train the cabin crew as the air­line com­petes with other more es­tab­lished op­er­a­tors.

The air­line car­ried more than 655 000 pas­sen­gers last year. With the con­tin­ued launch­ing of new routes, Afriqiyah aims to carry 1 mil­lion pas­sen­gers by the end of this year, Gehring says.

Afriqiyah has also an­nounced launch fares to many des­ti­na­tions and it is pos­si­ble to fly to Lon­don from R3 342 in econ­omy and R17 798 in busi­ness class, and the fares in­cludes all taxes.

Jo­han­nes­burg to Tripoli in econ­omy is from R2 826 and to Paris costs R3 185.

The air­line is hold­ing the spe­cial low rate fares un­til the end of Jan­uary next year. For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion , email Reser­va­tion­s8U.JNB@aviareps.com or call Afriqiyah Air­ways on 011 722 0227.

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