I mentioned yesterday that Beirut was ready to open again assuming the powers that be gave their blessings. Well, the first aircraft landed today and commercial operations should happily resume next week.
It sounds like the first arrival was from Lebanon’s MEA with additional arrivals from Royal Jordanian and BMED expected later on. The airport is not officially open yet, so these are not commercial flights. Those are expected to start again next week, but of course, those plans must be fluid.
If you thought US airlines have had a hard time in the last few years, look at the plight of poor MEA. MEA Chairman Mohammed Hout has definitely had his hands full this past month.
The airline had a good chunk of its fleet stranded at Beirut Airport (BEY) when the Israeli bombing began over a month ago. They took a chance and were able to evacuate their entire fleet by using a taxiway – this was soon after bombed as well.
By July 30, the airline was able to set up some semblance of a schedule using Damascus as a makeshift hub. They have been offering flights to Larnaca (Cyprus), Paris, London, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh, and Dubai on a semi-regular schedule. Regardless of political beliefs, you have to feel for these guys. It’s a tough situation for any airline to go through, and I’m sure they’ll be very happy to see their planes landing at BEY once again.
BUT . . . for now, there is clearly a great deal of fluidity in this situation. The cease fire could end at any time, and that would likely close the airport again. Not much else to say except, stay tuned.