Security concerns over Lebanon prompt Air France to reroute flight to Cyprus
A flight bound for Beirut from Paris was rerouted to Cyprus Wednesday evening as a precaution to the growing security concerns in Lebanon.
It had just enough time to refuel in Damascus before landing in Larcana airport where passengers were looked after by the airline.
The flight did not leave Cyprus until the situation in Lebanon was deemed safe enough.
"The 174 passengers will leave Larnaca airport in Cyprus bound for Beirut at a scheduled departure of 2:40pm Paris time and an arrival time of 3:25pm" said an Air France spokesperson.
Just before landing in Beirut yesterday, "the situation on the ground had quickly deteriorated, which prompted the company to reroute to Amman, what appeared at the time to be a good solution" said Pierre Caussade, one of the directors of Air France.
"But the pilot was not able to obtain authority from the air traffic controller to head directly to Amman. With the fuel running low, the only place to refuel was in Damascus", said a spokesperson of Air France operations.
Even though Air France no longer flys to Damascus, the plane was able to fill its tank there in two hours before leaving for Cyprus with its passengers and 11 crew members.
The conflict in Syria has increased tensions in Lebanon, which has been under Syrian influence for 30 years, and has become more divided between those supporting or against Bashar al-Assad's regime.