After over three months of closure, the Beirut-Rafik Hariri International Airport will reopen on July 1st. However, its activity after the reopening will not resemble its pre-closure days as Lebanon is trying to avoid a new outburst of COVID-19 infections.
The Middle East Airlines (MEA) recently released a set of guidelines for people intending to travel to Lebanon starting next week.
In turn, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation released a statement detailing the capacity at which the airport will operate, considering the exceptional public health conditions.
Starting July, “around 80% of the passengers coming to Lebanon must be from countries where the PCR examination is available, and 20% from the countries where that examination is not available,” the statement read.
In accordance with the government’s previous announcement that the airport’s activity will be restricted to 10% of its 2019 activity, only 2,000 passengers per day will be allowed by the Beirut airport, a MEA source told Arab News.
While Lebanon will accept passengers from numerous countries in the region and around the world, it remains that Lebanese who wish to leave Lebanon do not have too many options at their disposal at this time.
“Europe is still closed to the Lebanese, as are the Arab Gulf states. The only countries that are accepting flights from Lebanon are Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey,” the same source remarked.
With that said, while Spain is expected to start allowing flights from Lebanon again soon, for now, Lebanese who hold Schengen visas are not allowed to enter European countries yet.
On June 24th, Lebanon started allowing private flights to land in its international airport again, a week before commercial flights can follow suit.
On a side note, partly due to the airport’s prolonged closure, Lebanon’s vital tourism sector took a serious hit in the past few months, and this has exacerbated the country’s economic deterioration.
As talks about “going east” gain more traction on the Lebanese political stage, the Tourism Ministry recently hinted at a Lebanon-Japan agreement that can secure nearly 5,000 jobs for the Lebanese.
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