Libya’s Tripoli Airport: Airworld, It’s Not

Travel Blog  •  Jim Benning  •  03.12.10 | 3:28 PM ET

REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

We write a lot about Airworld and the notion that, beyond the security gates, the world’s airports are becoming more alike by the day. But a nice story in Reason about a press junket to Libya suggests that Tripoli’s airport retains its unique, uh, charm:

When the BBC reported that “at Tripoli’s ultra-modern airport…you could be almost anywhere in the world,” I expected at bare minimum a Starbucks, a fake Irish pub, and (this is the ultra bit) a bank of vending machines dispensing iPods and noise-canceling headphones.

Well, perhaps we came through Libya’s spillover airport, its Midway or Stansted, because this is “anywhere in the world” only in some mad, dystopian-novel sense. Available for purchase are Egyptian gum, cheap watches celebrating 40 years of the Libyan revolution, and glossy magazines with Hugo Chavez on the cover.

18 Comments for Libya’s Tripoli Airport: Airworld, It’s Not

Libyan 03.12.10 | 6:36 PM ET

you don’t have to be in Tripoli if it doesn’t suit you. that is the way it is, and we are happy with the way our airport is. We don’t need Irish pubs becouse we don’t drink, and we don’t need Starbucks becouse we are a family oriented society that enjoys coffee at home with the family.

I’d recommend that you try to be more objecctive in your future observations.

Real Libyan 03.13.10 | 4:53 AM ET

I guess I have to comment on the report and who called himself “LIBYAN” .
First I will start by saying to the “LIBYAN” that we are Muslims and our religion teaches us to welcome our guests who ever they are and on any time and there is no need to attach Mr. Jim in this manner.
As for you Mr. Jim , I agree with you that the comment by BBC was stunning to me myself , Yes I agree with you that Tripoli airport goes nowhere near the word “ULTRA-Modern ”  and if I may add it is quit dull.
I know it needs much to improve and maybe the new airport they are establishing now could be near “modern” ; it should include cafés , shops , duty free and other services that are required by frequent flyers, BUT it should not and we as people will be shocked if it contained a pub or a bar that sells Liquor which is completely forbidden by our religion “Islam” .

Libyan 03.13.10 | 10:43 AM ET

Reply to the (Real Libyan):
Let me first say that I did not “call” myself Libyan.  I was born Libyan and I’m so proud of it. Let me remind you of saying (beladi wa in jarat 3alaya 3azezo) and that means in English (my country is precious to me even if it does not do justice to me).  My country has always been doing justice to me. It provided me with everything I needed to live a decent life and gave me very good education, domistically and abroad. I never missed Starbucks. besides, there are many coffee shops in Tripoli Airport.!!! and they make very good coffee. who told you that they don’t exist?

I was not trying to attack the writer, this was never my intention. My intention was to remind him of the fact that cultures are different. offcourse we welcome visitors from everywhere in the world, in fact we are happy to show how beautiful our country is and how nice and friendly the libyan society and people are. But we expect our dear visitors to respect our values, culture and country’s regulation and rules. just like we respect theirs when we visit them.

Real Libyan 03.13.10 | 1:14 PM ET

Sir, when I mentioned calling yourself Libyan I was not trying to doubt your origin, I was just referring to the name you used as your title so you simply know that I mean you.
I’m also a pure Libyan as your kind self and no one can question how we love our country and how proud we are of our country; but even thou someone loves his country doesn’t mean that he should see only the good things in his country. Every country has good and bad and to get rid of the bad stuff you should be open-minded and discuss it without shame.
Now, let me try to reach a middle ground with you. The writer simply descried what he saw and he compared the airport facilities with other international airports he might have visited.
As you said that there is café shops and they make very good coffee according to our local taste, but don’t you agree with me that if you want to enter the new world and you have many companies entering the raising business in your country you should at least have a good looking, organized and equipped airport which is the first and last thing seen by the traveler.
This traveler may need a cup of coffee from a world known café shop, not specially Starbucks ( I don’t buy from them ) or a hot pizza from a famous brand or anything else. And you can supply the same service using local or even Arabic brands that are up to health and hygiene standards.
Airports all over the world have a new goal, Make the traveler feel good and enjoy his time around the airport. And enjoyment doesn’t mean only food but even the other services starting from the parking spots to the airline cabin seat.
FYI, my intension was not defending the writer or attacking our airport facilities, my real intension was to narrative the facts.

Real Libyan 03.13.10 | 1:22 PM ET

Mr. Gurgi ,
Please be realistic, many facilities in our country are operated by the nationalities which you are kicking out of our country.
Yes, they don’t do it for free, but they do it for us and we pay them for doing it and our country gets profit from it.
For example, telecommunications, your mobile, your internet and even your land line all are operated now by foreign companies.
We have people, who are capable of doing the same jobs, but they should be trained due to lack or experience and lack of modern technology and we need these people to do this.
Either they come to us or we go to them and trust me it costs less when they come to us.

A human happened to be Libyan 03.14.10 | 9:27 AM ET

Dear Bob Thornton,

The first two words of your comments tell enough about you, your knowledge, your personal, cultural and intellectual beliefs.

The first line which include terms such as ‘regime’ and ‘promulgated’ reflect your resource of ‘knowledge’ and attitudes which is mass media, the very ‘innocent’.

1:PORK and 2:JEW? not really irritating as much as it is a matter of cultural difference in the first instance ‘pork’, a good example of how people from western cultures would react to a Korean whose favourite meat is dog meat.

Regarding the JEW, it must be little complex. However, I would say that people in Libya know essencial distinctions and differences between a Jew, an Israeli, and a zionist. As for the Jew who is a person whose book is the Torah and whose prophet is Moses, he/she is highly respected. In fact, even marriage is allowed to them.

Lack of Starbucks? It is as if Starbucks is as important as drinking water! Honestly anyway, their coffee is not good, for me at least. I respect that there are people who consider it a favourite coffee. But should we make it a criteria for civilization and development?

Maybe you should read who first discovered coffee. You can also learn who discovered numbers, Chemistry, Physics, surgery and so and so forth. You can consider who massacred the brother Jews collectively.

You are welcome in Libya anytime my brother in humanity,  Mr. Thornton. I wish if I had more time, I would have told you more and more and more.

Best Regards

Real Libya 03.14.10 | 9:31 AM ET

First of all, Mind your language.
Who are you to appraise our beliefs, and more than that you are trying to broadcast a view that we are haters by birth.
We hate pork because we should, our religion says so due to many views and we are not in state to discuss it now, but it is forbidden for us and we simply accept this.
Do you see us arguing what you are allowed to consume or not.
Another thing, we have no problem with Jews in the form of real religion nor in the people themselves, In fact our religion” Islam” says that we should respect Christian and Jewish religion. And what you are stating is a simply that some naïve people mix-up between Jewish religion and Zionism.
And sir looking out of the box doesn’t mean that you should let go your belief and religion!

I really urge WOLRD HUM, to remove Mr. Bob Thornton’s comments because it contains inappropriate language.

Real Libyan 03.14.10 | 9:36 AM ET

Thank you “A human happened to be Libyan” , couldnt say it better.

Libyan 03.14.10 | 9:38 AM ET

I can only quote ( Thank you “A human happened to be Libyan” , couldnt say it better)

Bob 03.15.10 | 3:32 AM ET

A cockeyed wesbite run by honchos of the so called “revolution”

I’m boycotting this wesbite because of its demented views.

Antisemitism and antiporkism are webhum’s chief aims as the comments indicate.

Thanks but no thanks webum, by deleting truth, you’ve proved you are racist and just another rabid revolutionary preaching website.

By the way…if you want real proof of Libya’ hospitality I suggest you visit the thousans of illegal African migrants languishing in Tripoli’s prisons…..And then continue with your insane hate propaganda.

As for the airport I’ve seen better bus terminals in many a nation. An airport indicative of a repressed country run by a dictator! And thank you web hum for proving you are with the dicators of this planet.
If you had real courage you would not have deleted truth…but I know this comment will be deleted too because you are too scared to say the truth.

From hereon, your wesbite will forever be relegated to the list of ignomorons promulgating dictatorship.

Real Libyan 03.15.10 | 5:37 AM ET

Really strange that you are changing the direction of this discussion from a point of view about an airport to a political quarrel.
In a hurry, let me state that we have no relation what so ever with the writer or the website , in-fact this was the first time I ever saw or read this website and its articles.
And from what I understand it aims its articles on travel issues and it’s not “A cockeyed wesbite run by honchos of the so called “revolution” “
It seems that you have a problem making a difference between hate and faith, the two words sound alike but believe me there is a big difference.
As for the illegal immigrants, you said it yourself they are illegal, and that is not approving the way you say they are treated , but what do you say about Guantanamo? Five star human treatments is a must over there!
The above was my opinion on your views, no my opinion on you:
Although I never met you in person and I don’t know you , but from the language you use I can see you are from an African background , mostly you live in Libya probably an illegal immigrant, and you have one goal from coming to Libya which is using it as a passage to Europe.
And now you are stuck here and you have two options

1-  Live in Libya illegally until you get some way to Europe
2-  Get caught, and later deported to the hell you run away from in the first place (your country)

I guess you will try your best to maintain the first option, which could happen in one day or years and during this period MY FRIEND you should respect the country which is sheltering you.
This time I will not ask WORLD HUM to delete your comments, this time I need them to stay so people won’t get confused and see what we are discussing.
And finally, I really wish World Hum can visit Libya and see the real beauties of the country and the hospitality of the people
If they wish to come, they can contact me by email and organize .
my goal is to DELETE the appalling ideas advertised by Mr. Bob.

Matt Gross 03.15.10 | 9:03 AM ET

This is the greatest WorldHum comment thread of all time.

Tom 03.23.10 | 3:17 AM ET

Interesting conversation!

bathroom vanity 04.22.10 | 3:55 AM ET

It seems a common trend that many buildings including airports everywhere are designed to be modern nowadays , so what does the difference lie in??

Real Libyan 04.22.10 | 5:47 AM ET

Yes, it was a normal discussing about an airport when some people transformed the dialogue to an “Anti-Semitism and anti-porkism” clash.
I guess those mentioned above decided to “BOYCOTT” World Hum website so we won’t be hearing from them in future.
Back to the main subject, I myself support modernization in the condition that our religion and traditions are fully respected.
I don’t interfere in any body’s religion fundamentals and I really hope that no one does it with me, because at that time I’m going to fight back.

Grizzly Bear Mom 04.26.10 | 11:41 AM ET

I’m as American as apple pie and don’t understand why anyone would insist on a Irish Pub and Starbucks in an airport.  I travel to experience different things such as MInt Tea, Couscous, different religons, etc.  What is the point of traveling if not to do so?  As for anti porkism, we eat too much meat and too many animals, and pig consumption is something to think about because of their intelligence and the ability of pig disease to pass into human bodies. 

The best blog ever was the one where I meant to say the government should not teach any religon in Hawaii but came across as anti Muslim.

Real Libyan 04.27.10 | 7:33 AM ET

I agree with Grizzly Bear Mom, every country has its own theme, why take the trouble of travel to see new worlds, new cultures, Cultures that doesn’t include Starbucks or Irish pubs.
If you are so attached to your way of living and cannot live without a cup of “Decaf Pike Place Roast”, simply stay where are you can find it.
In all airports in the world , when you intend to travel you go to the departure hall or terminal , and I guess Departure in English mean leaving , leaving everything behind you , and that includes starbucks.

Cecille 04.30.10 | 2:54 PM ET

I couldn’t agree more with Grizzly Bear Mom, it is true by the way. You know that every place has its own genre in someway and keeping all the airports the way you want will only make it dull. Oh come on, imagine all the airports in the world to have those Irish Pub and starbucks, then wouldn’t it be better if just to call them Starbucks than airports?

And I’m not a muslim nor a Libyan but I believe that Not everyones perspective is the same anyway.

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