Government responses to Libyan crisis
Libya is experiencing escalating civil unrest, prompting the mass departure of international tourists. Tripoli International Airport and Libyan airspace remains open and functioning normally, according to the Libyan Air Force. Below are details on some countries and companies evacuating their nationals and employees from Libya (Reuters, 22-Feb-2011):
- Germany: Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said all Germans remaining in Libya should leave the country. The Foreign Ministry would assist their repatriation where necessary. One Lufthansa and two military aircraft are been chartered to return citizens to Germany. Westerwelle stated “If Libya continues with violence against its own people, sanctions will become unavoidable" (AFP, 22-Feb-2011);
- Greece: The government stated it is watching the developments in Libya and is ready to repatriate Greeks who will officially request it, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday. The government would send military C-130 transport aircraft to bring them home, it added;
- Italy: The government plans to send a flight to Tripoli to bring back Italians who want to leave Libya, the Foreign Ministry said;
- UK: The Foreign Office has urged British citizens to avoid travel to Libya and it considering chartering an aircraft for citizens unable to get a commercial service to the UK (BBC News, 22-Feb-2010). British Airways and bmi have temporarily canceled all services to Libya.
- The Netherlands: plans are underway to evacuate citizens from Libya on Tuesday with a military plane, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Uri Rosenthal said on Dutch television. The Foreign Ministry believes there are 150 citizens in Libya;
- Turkey: Nearly 600 Turks were evacuated at the weekend from Benghazi where many Turkish firms are active. Turkey’s Anatolia News Agency reported another 250 Turks were being taken by bus from eastern Libya to the Egyptian city of Alexandria. National carrier Turkish Airlines announced passengers who were issued tickets to Libyan destinations before 21-Feb-2011 will be able to re-routes or re-book travel plans, or refund their tickets until 14-Mar-2011 [more];
- United States: The US has ordered all non-emergency personnel to leave Libya. The US State Department, also warning embassy family members to leave the country, said protests, violence and looting were possible during the next several days;
- Yemen: President Ali Abdullah Saleh had instructed the Yemen Airways to send services to Libya to bring home citizens;
- Ukraine: The government has sent a aircraft to evacuate first of an estimated 3,000 Ukrainians living in Libya. The government contracted a military transport aircraft for the service (AFP, 22-Feb-2011);
- Tunisia: Tunisair announced it has scheduled two Tunis-Sebha services to ensure the transport of Tunisians from Libya. Both services will be operated using 162-seat A320 equipment;
- UAE: Emirates announced it has suspended all services to Tripoli
- Emirates airlines suspends flights to Libyan capital. The airline operates seven weekly services to Tripoli, three of which continue on to Tunis. Three times weekly services to Tunis will continue to operate on a nonstop basis;
- Malta: Air Malta is planning additional services to Tripoli to evacuate citizens. Air Malta yesterday and today have been prepared to operate up to five charter flights requested by employers to repatriate workers from Libya, but no clearance was given by the Libyan authorities.
- Syria: Syrian Airlines will operate additional Damascus-Tripoli services to evacuate citizens.