. This state-of-the-art facility is equipped with the latest technologies and tools that offer a good training for pilots, flight attendants, and staff members. During the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced that a project will expand the capacity of Beirut – Rafic Hariri International Airport to accommodate 5 million extra passengers. Currently, the airport can accommodate 6 million people. However, expansion is necessary since the number of passengers is increasing year after year. During the first eight months of 2017, 5,538,185 people traveled to and from Beirut Airport. Hariri also added that when the late Prime Minister Rafic Hariri rebuilt the airport in 1992 to accommodate 6 million passengers, people wondered if the expansion was necessary. Well, this airport received more than 7.5 million passengers last year. MEA Chairman Mohammad El-Hout called out for the expansion of the facility. In fact, he was praised by Saad Hariri because he made MEA a profitable company. It was almost going to bankrupt during the Lebanese civil war. Currently, MEA is worth 1 billion dollars. The Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon (BDL) Riad Salameh was one of the key speakers at the ceremony. He noted that MEA was one of BDL’s most remunerative investments. Salameh is proposing to offer 25% of the shares of MEA to the private sector. Lebanon’s national economy relies on the tourism sector. By expanding the airport and offering a better training for the staff of the national carrier, Lebanon will soon be back on the global travel map.
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