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MEA suspends Erbil-Beirut route
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Middle East Airlines (MEA) acceded to the request of Iraqi civil aviation authorities to suspend its Erbil-Beirut flights starting Friday evening.

The company said that Iraqi authorities banned international flights to and from Erbil, due to political concerns after Kurdistan’s independence referendum.

Mohamed El Hout, Chairman of MEA, said that the suspension has been applied for three days, until Monday. MEA will later react based on the actions of the Iraqi authorities. If the interruption is extended, the Beirut-Erbil schedule will be updated on a weekly basis.

If the ban is lifted, according to El Hout, MEA can immediately resume the usual route. Meanwhile, MEA's customers can take MEA flights to Basra and Baghdad in place of Erbil.

El Hout said that there is currently no need to increase the number of flights as the capacity is sufficient for the low season.

Walid Abi Lamaa, Head of the Commercial Department at MEA, said that MEA had arranged for bigger aircraft than would be usual, to cater expected increase in demand on the Thursday and Friday flights. An additional plane is set on hold this Friday in case demand on the Erbil-Beirut flight exceeds capacity. Abi Lamma said that the flight timing on Friday had been set to 16:00 PM, one hour earlier than usual, to prevent any unforeseen problems that might occur before the ban is applied.

Reported by Samer Rasbey
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Date Posted: Sep 28, 2017