Middle East Airlines (MEA) have decided to move several of its aeroplanes amidst the ongoing tensions in the region, according to Asharq Al-Awsat and agencies, October 21.
The Lebanese carrier will move multiple of its aircrafts due to the conflict escalating between Israel and Palestine which will therefore reduce the amount of flights departing from the capital, Beirut.
Clashes between Israelis and Palestinians have occurred for 75 years, since the Nakba, a term used to describe the ongoing displacement of Palestinians from their territories which originally took place in 1948.
Palestinian militant group Hamas retaliated following a flurry of Israeli attacks on the state on October 7 in a brutal assault of Israel from the Gaza Strip, a territory under siege for over a decade.
Although seven of MEA’s planes will leave from the Lebanese capital as usual, the airline plan to move ten planes to neighbouring Cyprus, Oman, and Qatar.
Mohamed El-Hout, the Lebanese airline’s chairman since 2009, said, “Our priority is to secure communication between Lebanon and the rest of the world,”.
Many countries’ politicians have warned on travelling to Lebanon and have recommended that citizens make a swift exit.
The British Government issued a warning on October 18 on their website. The statement read, “You (British nationals) are advised against all travel to the whole of Lebanon. If you are currently in Lebanon, we encourage you to leave now while commercial options remain available.”.
Similarly, Germany’s Foreign Ministry released a caution message calling on citizens not to travel to Lebanon as well as Israel and Palestine whilst the Canadian Foreign Minister called on Canadians in Lebanon to depart.
Earlier this month, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Twitter (now X), “As the crisis in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel continues to unfold, the security situation in the region is becoming increasingly volatile,”.
As a result of warnings from many advising not to travel in the country, many in Lebanon have raised concerns about the profits they would lose due to the country being one of the most favoured tourist destinations in the region.
Regarding potential attacks on the Beirut-based airport, El-Hout noted, “We don’t have security information about a possible attack on the airport in Lebanon but references and all the information we got indicated that the operations will remain within the rules of engagement and under control in southern Lebanon,”.
Asharq Al-Awsat/ Reuters