The recent Israel-Hamas war has led to a daily routine of clashes along Lebanon’s southern border. Despite the relative escalation, Lebanese residents, particularly in border villages, have gradually adapted to this harsh reality.
However, the economic indicators, notably at Beirut International Airport, still reflect the war’s shadow. In October, the airport recorded a significant change in passenger movement, indicating a shift not fully captured in current statistics.
Before the conflict, 2021’s airport data showed a notable recovery compared to the post-financial collapse years. By September’s end, arrivals had surpassed 2.85 million, a 21% increase from last year.
Departures also rose by 19%, reaching nearly 2.91 million. This year’s figures, despite not reaching 2019 levels, marked a significant rebound from the challenges of COVID-19, the port explosion, fuel shortages, and social unrest.
However, the onset of border clashes in early October changed the airport’s dynamics. Monthly statistics show a 33.44% decrease in traffic, with a net departure of 100,000 individuals from Lebanon.
These figures mirror the warnings from foreign embassies and the departure of Lebanese with foreign citizenship or residency, driven by fears of conflict escalation.
Despite the downturn, the airport’s overall activity in 2021 remains positive. Arrivals in the first ten months are 17.51% higher than last year, with departures up by 18.57%.
The future, however, remains uncertain, especially for the tourism sector, which fears the impact of prolonged tension on the crucial holiday season.