Busy Libya airline hit by EU sanctions
Brussels - Libya's busy low-fare Afriqiyah airline, popular for plying African destinations, was hit on Tuesday by a European Union assets freeze as the 27-nation bloc stepped up pressure on Muammar Gaddafi.
The airline was added to a list of Libyan firms and individuals targeted by EU sanctions that took effect from Tuesday when published in the bloc's official journal.
Also added by the journal to an already lengthy list of people was Taher Juwadi, the fourth in command in Gaddafi’s Revolutionary Guard. He will be hit by a travel ban and assets freeze.
Afriqiyah Airways was targeted with an asset freeze on grounds it is a subsidiary of the Libyan African Investment Portfolio, "an entity entirely owned and controlled by the regime", the official journal said.
Set up in 2001, first using Boeing aircraft but then switching to European Airbus planes, Afriqiyah flies to some 20 destinations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, often at costs far below larger carriers, with Tripoli a one-time busy hub for the airline.
In Europe the company has offices in Paris, Brussels, London, Rome and Amsterdam. It has several Airbus planes on order, including six long-haul A350s.
It was hit by sanctions as the EU tightened the screws on the Tripoli regime a day after officially opening an office in the rebel capital of Benghazi.