On Sunday, Middle East Airlines (MEA) Chairman Mohammad El-Hout announced that the carrier would begin solely requiring payment in dollars starting Tuesday, June 1st.
This comes after a representative from MEA had confirmed to The961 that the decision would become effective as of June 8th.
Travel agencies in Lebanon had also shared similar information with their clients, and local media outlets announced the date of June 8th as well.
However, the national airline company, which is is 99% owned by Lebanon’s Central Bank, has moved that date forward. This leaves little time for residents to make use of their dollars that are stuck in Lebanese banks.
Prior to this decision, people were able to pay in local currency or checks. Now, plane tickets will become exceedingly less affordable for the majority of the population which continues to receive blow after blow as the economic crisis continues to hit hard and expand.
Starting June 1st, the national carrier will only accept ‘fresh’ dollars or its equivalent based on the exchange rate set by Central Bank’s ‘Sayrafa’ app, which is currently at 12,000 LBP/USD, according to Reuters.
According to El-Hout, this is the only way the company will be able to sustain itself.