The Maltese government has returned an A320-200 to Afriqiyah Airways (8U, Tripoli Mitiga) two weeks after it was hijacked during an internal Libyan flight between Sebha and Tripoli Mitiga.

In a press release, Libya's Government of National Reconciliation confirmed the arrival of 5A-ONB (msn 3236) from Malta on Friday, December 6. All 109 passengers and six crew were released shortly after the aircraft was diverted to Malta on December 23.

Afriqiyah had earlier requested the release of the aircraft citing "mounting losses". It has since pledged to continue assisting the Maltese authorities with their ongoing investigations.

According to the Libyan Herald, the two hijackers, Musa Shaha Soku (27) and Ahmed Saleh (28), claimed to be Gaddafi loyalists. They used replica pistols and a hand grenade and had threatened to blow up the aircraft.

Following their peaceful surrender, both were incarcerated in Malta awaiting trial on charges that include the hijacking of an aircraft, using and threatening violence on a flight, holding people against their will, and possession of imitation weapons.

They face a maximum of life in prison.