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Ghadames Airlines is an airline founded in 2021, specializing in charter flights, and operating from Libya.

A new charter flight from Libya landed in Managua amidst threats from the U.S.

Two flight-tracking websites reported the arrival of a charter flight operated by Ghadames Airlines, despite the fact that Nicaragua's Civil Aviation Authority has not provided any information about it

On Saturday morning, a charter flight from Benghazi, Libya, operated by Ghadames Airlines, landed in Managua, according to the flight-tracking website Flightaware.

This flight was also reported by another flight-tracking site, Flightradar. According to the data from both sites, the flight departed from Benghazi on May 18 at 12:09 AM Libyan time and landed in Managua at 6:54 AM Central American time.

This is how the flight is reported by the Flightaware website. SCREENSHOT.

The former Nicaraguan ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Arturo Mcfields, reported on his social media that this flight arrived in Managua with 356 migrants who are seeking to reach the United States and are using Nicaragua as a “springboard” to get there. As of now, the Nicaraguan Civil Aviation Authority has not reported the arrival of this flight.

On May 15, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a warning to airlines, charter flight operators, travel agents, and air service providers about the ways in which migrant smuggling networks are exploiting transportation services to facilitate irregular migration to the United States through Managua.

The alert indicates that the United States has confirmed that “increasingly, migrants are traveling through the region using Managua as a disembarkation point to continue their journey northward by land.”

Despite this alert, transcontinental flights carrying migrants who aim to reach the United States via Managua continue to arrive in Managua.

Flightradar also reports the arrival of this flight in Managua. SCREENSHOT.

According to the Ghadames Airlines website, this is a private airline that offers charter flights. “The company operates both regular and non-regular passenger flights, with Mitiga International Airport near Tipoli as its operational hub,” reads the official page.

This company was founded in 2021 and operates from Tripoli, the capital of Libya. Its main destinations are Turkey and Tunisia, with plans to add Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.

Managua is not listed among its official destinations, but flight-tracking websites reported that one of its Boeing 777-200 planes landed at Augusto C. Sandino Airport this morning.

“Ortega continues to defy the United States while profiting from people in need of migrating,” said former political prisoner Juan Sebastián Chamorro on his X account.

Managua Airport as a springboard

Between January and February of this year, according to recently updated figures from the Central Bank of Nicaragua (BCN), 130,300 passengers arrived at Augusto C. Sandino International Airport, of which only 119,300 returned to use the same route to leave Nicaragua. This means there is a difference of 11,000 who would have been immigrants who chose to continue their journey to the United States by land.

This difference is almost the same as last year during the same period when 95,000 passengers entered through Managua airport in the first two months of the year, but only 84,100 departed. That is a difference of 10,900 travelers.

Indeed, the variation in 2024 is significantly less than in 2022, when Ortega’s strategy of positioning migrants at the borders of the United States was taking shape. In the first two months of that year, 87,400 arrived, but only 46,500 departed through that route, a difference of 40,900.

In 2023 more than 300,000 migrants would have gone through the Managua airport

If the pace exhibited by the 2024 figures remains consistent compared to 2023, there will likely be a significant influx of migrants through Nicaragua to the United States by the end of this year. For instance, in 2023, 878,900 passengers arrived at Managua airport, but only 572,600 departed. This means a difference of 306,300 people who likely continued their journey by land to the United States.

However, the record was set in 2022 when this strategy was implemented. That year, 634,800 people entered through Managua airport, but only 312,400 people departed via that route. This indicates that a significant portion of the 322,400 people who stayed in the country continued their journey by land to the United States.

Following the massive mobilization of irregular migrants recorded during 2022, facilitated by charter flights arriving in Managua every day, initially from Cuba, then from Haiti and other Caribbean islands, and later from Africa and even Central Asia, the United States imposed the first sanctions on airlines offering this service in November 2023. At that time, flights from those islands decreased, but those from Europe, Asia, and Africa increased, as the business had expanded globally.

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