A Saudi Prince Just Paid The Tickets for Lebanese Students To Return Home

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The Vice-President of Al-Walid Bin Talal Humanitarian Foundation, Leila Al-Solh, confirmed that the Saudi prince’s institution in Lebanon will be covering the expenses of flight tickets for Lebanese students in Europe.

According to NNA, Lebanon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Nassif Hetti reported that the Foundation will cover the cost of three trips for Lebanese students living in France, Italy, and Spain on Middle East Airlines.

An MEA plane arrived from Rome on Saturday, April 11th, to Lebanon with 110 passengers. NNA confirmed that this trip is among the three trips the Saudi prince Al-Walid Bin Talal has committed to cover.

The former Minister of Industry Leila Al-Solh stressed to Hitti that “everyone should work hard, anywhere they are, to ensure that Lebanese students return to their families in the fastest time possible. Especially for those who cannot afford to return, in light of the recurring conditions.”

Hitti appreciated the initiative of the Humanitarian Foundation, thanking the Saudi Prince and the former minister for the reconciliation of “this great national position.”

According to NNA, authorities and embassies affiliated with the return of the Lebanese students are working to facilitate the return process for the students that the foundation has taken care of.

Lebanon has opened Beirut Airport starting Sunday, April 5th, for the Lebanese people stranded abroad amid a semi-international lockdown. The first trip was met with huge criticism after people realized that the cost of evacuation flight tickets cost four times the cost of regular flights.

Even though the flight tickets are not covered by the Lebanese government, the PCR tests at the airport upon arrival and hotel room accommodations are.

Lebanese expats have been sharing their experience of their evacuation, and most testimonies can be deemed decent, if not exemplary.

The problem still lies in the high prices of plane tickets. MEA argues that the prices are at the price of cost without profit.

However, tickets cost higher because the plane leaves Beirut without passengers and returns half empty to maintain social distancing measures.

For context, it comes as no surprise that Prince Walid Ben Talal has stepped in to help. He was born to a Lebanese mother, Mona Al-Solh, daughter of Lebanon’s first prime minister Riad Al-Solh. He spent his childhood in Lebanon with his mother and attended Pinewood College in Beirut and then Choueifat School in 1974.

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