Official Statement By Canadian Government About Rejecting Direct Montreal-Beirut Flights

In the last six months or so, there has been a strong effort within the

Lebanese community in Canada

to push for direct Montreal-Beirut flights. Despite Air Canada pushing for this route and ordering airplanes with the ability to accommodate this non-stop flight, it was still up to the government. The route has been cancelled due to “security reasons.” Many were making the argument that this excuse doesn’t make sense since British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa all offer direct flights to and from Beirut. A

petition was launched

and had gathered thousands of signatures. Following its

submission to the Canadian Parliament

 and after meeting the minimum required signatures, an official response by the government was pending. The response was quite late. We initially found out when the VP of Global Sales at Air Canada

sent out a tweet expressing his disappointment

after receiving news that they will not be able to proceed with direct flights. It took over a week following that tweet for us to receive an official response from the Canadian government. This was their reply:

The safety and security of Canadian passengers is a top priority. The Government of Canada is aware that there is demand for direct flights between Canada and Lebanon and of the interest in providing such a service. Today, travellers can fly between Canada and Lebanon and book their flights with a single airline; however, passengers have to take a connecting flight operated by another airline, usually in Europe. When Transport Canada considers new flight routes, there are many factors that are considered by it and other key departments beyond aviation safety and security, which include national security, international relations, economic considerations and facilitation of passenger travel. At this time, direct flights between Canada and Lebanon remain prohibited for national security reasons.

Norman Nahas, President of the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce in Nova Scotia, said:

“It is unfortunate to hear that Minister Garneau has prohibited direct flights between Canada and Lebanon at this time.

The business case for a direct flight is compelling for both countries, as it would promote trade, tourism and immigration, but also strengthen the longtime bond between Canada and Lebanon.”

Christian Ziade, who was behind the initial petition, has told us that they are already “preparing a petition for access to information to determine the exact reasons and/or solutions to address the concerns.” Are you Lebanese living in Canada?

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