Flights to the Libyan capital of Tripoli have been suspended by Etihad Airways amid safety concerns.

Three weekly passenger and two cargo flights a week from Abu Dhabi have been dropped.

The move follows “safety and operational challenges” which the airline said it has observed in recent months at Tripoli airport.

Etihad is notifying passengers and cargo customers of the temporary suspension of flights, and organising refunds.

Chief operations officer Richard Hill said: “Regretfully, we have taken the decision to temporarily suspend our flights to Tripoli.

“As the safety and security of our guests, employees and assets remains our number one priority, our assessment of the existing situation at Tripoli airport does not provide the level of assurance we require to ensure safe operation of our flights.

“Once we are satisfied that the arrangements at Tripoli airport meet our requirements, we will resume services.”

The airline started serving Tripoli in January 2012.