Tunisia’s Syphax airline grounds flights amid ‘financial’ hardship

Tunisia's private carrier Syphax grounds all its flights temporarily due to financial difficulties

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Tunisia's private carrier Syphax said it is grounding all its flights temporarily from midnight Thursday, with a company lawyer citing "financial difficulties".

"It is a temporary suspension of flights... until solutions are found," said Samia Maktouf.

In a terse statement Syphax said flights in to and out of Tunisia would be grounded from midnight, without giving a reason for the decision.

The announcement comes a day after the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it was suspending all activity with Syphax, according to Maktouf.

Tunisian media said IATA, the world's largest airline association, has instructed its partners, including travel agencies, to cease dealing with Syphax, saying the carrier had failed to meet its financial obligations.

Syphax was founded by businessman Mohamed Frikha following the 2011 uprising that toppled president Zine Ben Abidine Ben Ali.

Tunisia has struggled to rebuild its economy since the uprising, namely its tourism industry.

Last month, an attack at a beach resort killed 38 holidaymakers, including 30 Britons.

And in March, 21 tourists and a policeman were killed in a gun attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis.

Both attacks, which dealt a heavy blow to tourism, were claimed by the Islamic State group.

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