exceed seven million
and Saudi Arabia top destination list
Activity at Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport grew in terms of passengers and aircrafts, according to the airport’s 2015 figures.
The total number of passengers, including arrivals, departures, and transit, reached 7.2 million, up by ten percent in 2015 compared to the year before. Flights also rose by around seven percent, to 69,000 landings and takeoffs.
The top five destinations passengers come from and go to, in order of frequency, are: The UAE, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and France. Tony Farah, Director of the Research and Studies Department at the Civil Aviation Directorate General, said: “Passengers use Emirates Airlines, Etihad, and Fly Dubai coming from Australia and Far East countries like Japan and China.” Turkey came in second place for the first time this year. “Syrian emigrants represent 70 percent of travelers to Turkey,” he said. Local passengers are also using Turkish Airlines to travel to Europe via Istanbul. Qatar is among the top five because it offers cheaper flights and passengers use Qatar Airways to come from the United States and far destinations.
Freight and mail, however, saw negative results this year. The first fell by 16 percent to 8.5 million tons. Mail dropped to 505,000 tons, down by 33 percent. Mohammad Chehabeddine, Airport General Director said that these negative numbers are expected to change in the coming years as the new cargo center was recently inaugurated. “Middle East Airlines used to make 150 cargo flights and now it’s making 500 a month,” he said. The airport is gaining more confidence from other countries, especially since it is the most stable country in the region, according to him.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Jan 13, 2016