On Thursday 21 November, a day prior to Lebanon's Independence day, words are spreading about the cancellation of all flights from and to Lebanon with a complete closing of the airport. This news is currently causing confusion and concerns, especially with the Lebanese diaspora's plans to celebrate our Independence Day in the homeland in support of the revolution. After running a Fact Check, we found out the following:
Beirut International Airport canceled all flights from and to Lebanon with a complete closing of the airport; a move meant to close on the Revolution inland and stop the Lebanese from the diaspora to join the revolution.
The cancellation of some flights during this period of the year, between November and mid-December, at the airport is normal due to low aircraft traffic.
The presidency of Rafic el-Hariri International Airport issued the following statement: "November of every year is considered to be a month when there is low aircraft traffic, compared to other months of the year. So many airlines operating at the airport, especially those that are running more than one trip a day, are canceled, due to the low number of passengers on board."
According to the statement, these airlines may also convert a few passengers to other business flights within their commercial cooperation. The cancellation of some flights is a normal occurrence during low season and "might happen more than once during this month."
This isn't the case in just Beirut's airport. The same thing happened a while ago in Ukraine and Zurich, according to the Director of Civil Aviation Mohamed Shehab Eddin. Speaking to Al Nahar News, he explained that November and October are considered the dead season, and the airport witnesses so much less traffic in these two months than any other period of the year.
He also explained that, in mid-December, things go back to normal and bookings start rising. In order for airline companies to avoid great losses due to the low number of passengers, they have to cancel and postpone some flights.
Henceforth, this decision is just a commercial one and has nothing to do with other national factors or circumstances.
This clarification denies the rumors about the cancelling and postponing flights being a result of Lebanon's financial and safety threats. It's as simple as this: If the number of passengers isn't enough, the airline delays the launch time or postpones to another day.
Worst case scenario, if a cancellation was to happen, it's because the airline waited for the last second to see if any change in numbers would occur and it didn't.
Let's hope that this explanation of this normal situation reassures people leaving or coming to Lebanon. We also sure hope that the Lebanese abroad heading home on the 22nd of November have a safe and unimpeded flight!