Starting June 8th, Lebanon’s national carrier Middle East Airlines (MEA) will only accept payment in fresh dollars (USD) as opposed to settling payment in local checks of LBP.
This will make travel unaffordable and virtually impossible for the majority of Lebanese who do not have access to fresh dollars. Buying dollars is a hefty price to pay in today’s exchange rate.
The MEA PR office wasn’t immediately available for comment, however, a representative at the call center confirmed to The961 over a phone call that the airlines will indeed only accept fresh dollars as of June 8th.
In December last year, MEA chairman Mohammad El-Hout warned that this day would come when the Central Bank stops subsidizing jet fuel. The company pays around 85% of its expenses in dollars for things like fuel and maintenance parts.
According to El-Hout, the only other choice for MEA would be to stop operations, which would bring Lebanon’s only national airline, which employs hundreds of Lebanese, to nonexistence.