The so-called Arab Spring political upheaval across North Africa and parts of the Middle East has also been a significant disruptor of airline business in the region. The most seriously impacted were Libyan carriers Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines, which had aircraft destroyed or damaged by NATO air strikes against the former government of the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
No one can say where, when or how the rolling political crisis in North Africa and the Middle East will end, but it already seems clear that it doesn’t spell good news for the air transport industry.
Libyan Airlines on Sunday selected the CFM56-5B engine to provide power for seven A320s it has on firm order, and five more on which it has options. The firm engine order is valued at approximately $95 million and the airline is scheduled to begin taking delivery in mid-2010. “We are pleased to announce the selection of the highly reliable CFM56-5B/3 engines to power this new Airbus A320 order,” said Libyan Airlines CEO Capt. Mohamed Ibsem.
Airbus placed itself in a position to land the first significant civil aircraft order from a Libyan airline in 30 years when it signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday to supply Tripoli’s Afriqiyah Airways with six A320s, three A319s and three A330-200s. The deal also grants the airline options on five A319s and three A330-200s.