US Boosts Libya's Airport Security with $4.5 Million Investment

By Ivan PetrenkoJan 30, 2024 03:23 AMNews
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The "Villa Celine," one of the villas built by wealthy Romans outside the walls of the cities
The ''Villa Celine,'' one of the villas built by wealthy Romans outside the walls of the cities. Source: unsplash

In a major step to enhance air travel security and connectivity, the United States has pledged an additional $4.5 million to Libya, focusing on airport security enhancements. This move is part of a broader effort to reconnect Libya with the global community, following a decade of isolation.

Restoring Global Links for Libya

Recently, the US Embassy in Libya reaffirmed its commitment to improving Libyan air transport. The announcement came after a meeting involving Libyan and US officials, including Libya's Deputy Minister of Transport for Air Transport Affairs, Khaled Swessi, and US Special Envoy Ambassador Richard Norland. This development signifies a concerted effort to integrate Libya more closely with international air travel networks.

The allocated $4.5 million will be channeled through the Department of State Bureau of Counterterrorism's Libya Aviation and Airport Security Program. The primary goal is to bolster Sebha International Airport's (SEB) capabilities, promoting stability in southern Libya and positioning Sebha as a key aviation hub. This funding is part of a larger $20 million assistance provided by the US over the past six years to enhance Libya's aviation security.

Training for a Safer Future

The US Embassy has partnered with Culmen International, a Virginia-based firm specializing in aviation security, to lead the training initiatives at Sebha Airport. This effort aims to equip Libyan airport officials with advanced security skills. Approximately 3,000 Libyan airport personnel have already benefited from US-sponsored training since 2018, including a significant representation of women.

Sebha International Airport, serving the southwestern city of Sabha, currently only operates domestic flights. However, with this new investment and ongoing training programs, there is potential for expanding its reach and services.

Reconnecting with the World

Since the outbreak of the civil war in 2014, Libya's connectivity with the international community, particularly in aviation, has been severely hampered. The inclusion of Libyan airlines on the EU Air Safety List and the cessation of flights by many carriers isolated Libya from crucial air routes to Europe and beyond. However, recent developments indicate a positive trajectory, with the anticipated lifting of the EU flight ban in April 2024 and the restoration of direct flights to Italy last year.

This US investment in Libyan airport security is not just a financial contribution; it's a step towards re-establishing Libya as a vital part of the global air transport network, offering new economic prospects and stability for the region.

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