The history of Libyan Arab Airlines dates back to 1964, when the airline was founded by the government of Libya. The original purpose of the airline was to provide a transportation link between Libya and other Arab countries, as well as to Europe and North America. The airline quickly grew to become one of the largest in the Middle East and North Africa region, with an expansive fleet and network of destinations.
The original fleet of Libyan Arab Airlines consisted of two Boeing 720s and two Sud Aviation Caravelles. By the end of the 1960s, the fleet had grown to 12 airplanes, with the addition of Boeing 707s and 727s. The airline was also the first in the Middle East to acquire the Boeing 747-200, which it received in 1972.
The airline continued to expand over the years and eventually grew its fleet to include a variety of aircraft including the Boeing 737, 767, 777, Airbus A319, A320, A321, and A330. In addition, the airline was the first in the region to introduce the Embraer ERJ-145.
Throughout its history, Libyan Arab Airlines has had numerous important milestones. In 1972, the airline launched its first international route, from Tripoli to London. In 1981, the airline became one of the first in the region to launch a domestic route, connecting Tripoli to Benghazi. In 1985, the airline was the first in the region to offer flights to the United States, with service to New York.
In 1989, Libyan Arab Airlines was the first airline in the region to offer online ticketing. In 1996, the airline launched its first long-haul flights, from Tripoli to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. In 2002, the airline began offering flights to China, with service to Beijing.
Unfortunately, the airline has also experienced its share of tragedies. In 1992, a Libyan Arab Airlines flight from Benghazi to London was hijacked and forced to land in Malta. The hijackers demanded the release of political prisoners and the resignation of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Though the situation was eventually resolved without any casualties, the incident was a major setback for the airline.
In 2010, a Libyan Arab Airlines flight from Benghazi to Cairo crashed near the Libyan city of Benghazi, killing all 103 people on board. The cause of the crash is still unknown, though investigators suspect that a mechanical failure may have been to blame.
In the years since, the airline has continued to expand and evolve, despite the political turmoil in Libya. In 2013, the airline announced plans to launch flights to the United States and Canada, though these plans have yet to come to fruition. The airline remains one of the largest in the region, with a fleet of more than 70 aircraft and service to more than 30 destinations.