Beirut airport reopens; many expats in UAE prefer to stay back

Marie Nammour /Dubai Filed on July 1, 2020 | Last updated on July 2, 2020 at 12.24 am
Beirut airport, reopens, expats, UAE, stay back

(Aamy Image)

Emirates is set to operate four weekly flights from Beirut to Dubai to carry cargo as well as passengers travelling home.

After a closure for several months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport has re-opened for commercial flights on Wednesday.

While some Lebanese expats in Dubai booked a seat on the first day of the resumption of the airport operations to spend the summer break at their home country, many others preferred to stay back.

"I am not going now because I am worried that I would get stuck there. Second, I prefer to spend the money I will spend there to prepare food boxes and distribute them to needy families," said Abir Chamas, a banker.

"About the reopening, I feel it is too risky, especially when one has kids who don't know how to take precautions against Covid-19," she said, pointing out that she will book some staycations (two or three weekends) for her kids to feel some change.

Some others also share the same preference like Abir but for other reasons. "I won't be going. The situation there is not good," said Nizar, who works for a transportation corporation.

Hani Harb, manager at a Lebanese restaurant chain, said that the costs of the travel is the main reason for him to not fly to Beirut in the near future at least.

Emirates, flydubai resume service

Emirates announced in a Press release on Wednesday: "Emirates flight EK957 landed earlier on Wednesday at Rafic Hairiri International Airport, marking the airline's first flight carrying passengers to Beirut."

The airline said it is set to operate four weekly flights from Beirut to Dubai to carry cargo as well as passengers travelling home or for essential purposes.

Emirates flight EK958 will depart Beirut at 12.05pm local time and arrive in Dubai at 16.55pm local time. The return flight EK957 will depart Dubai at 7.30am and arrive in Beirut at 10.35am local time, as per the Press release.

Flydubai has earlier announced that it will resume its commercial scheduled operations on July 7 to various destinations, including Lebanon. "Flights will resume initially to 24 destinations, increasing to 66 destinations over the summer," the budget airline said.

The Beirut airport thronged with local, Arab and foreign media on Wednesday, reporting the resumption of the commercial flights. 


Marie Nammour

Originally from Lebanon, Marie has been covering the Dubai Courts and the Public Prosecution, immigration and labour issues often, Lebanese community-related affairs and the Dubai International Film Festival. A graduate from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Jounieh, a city to the north of Beirut, Marie worked as an in-house reporter, covering international affairs for the LBCI and the LBC Sat (Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International), a leading TV station back home and a legal translator for Sagesse, a renowned law college in the heart of the Lebanese capital. Marie speaks fluently Arabic, French, English and Spanish. She is fond of travelling, psychology, learning more and of the French literature.

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