The Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut has been closed due to anti-government protests

All flights from Dubai to Beirut cancelled until further notice

By Sunita Menon And Dina El Shammaa, Staff Reporters
Published: May 08, 2008, 13:31

Abu Dhabi/Dubai: All flights to Beirut from Abu Dhabi and Dubai have been cancelled and will resume only when there is a clear picture of the situation in Lebanon, aviation officials said on Thursday.

"An EK (Emirates) and an MEA (Middle East Airlines) flight to Beirut have already been cancelled," said a Dubai Civil Aviation official.

"The scheduled time for the reopening [of the Rafik Hariri International Airport] has now passed and we have not had any updates.

"We know the Beirut airport is still closed," said Mohammad Al Bulooki, director of marketing and communications, Abu Dhabi Airport Company (ADAC).

Tension in the Lebanese capital remained high on Thursday.

Suspended

An official from the international airport in Beirut told Gulf News all incoming flights remain temporarily suspended.

He did say an MEA flight to Dubai and Abu Dhabi might depart at its scheduled time.

"We expected the airport to open at 1pm (Thursday, Abu Dhabi time). We are still waiting to be informed what the opening times will be."

Tom Clarke, media relations officer of Etihad Airways, said it was likely that the 1.05am flight departing from Abu Dhabi to Beirut on Friday morning would be cancelled.

Despite their country being pushed deeper into political turmoil, a large number of expatriate Lebanese from all walks of life in the UAE have high hopes the unrest will be resolved soon.

Many were glued to their television sets on Thursday to hear Hezbollah chief Shaikh Hassan Nasrallah address the public.

"I am so used to this type of thing happening in Lebanon," said Bassam Ahmad, a Lebanese expatriate whose family members in Beirut were scattered across the city yesterday, unable to make their way home.

Maria Ma'elouf had similar sentiments.

For her Lebanon's politics have become murky since the assassination of Rafik Hariri. "Today each political party in Lebanon is trying to get a one-up on the other but by doing this they are just destroying the secular fabric of the country."

"In my opinion the political parties are all on an ego trip of their own," Ma'elouf said.

http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Trave.../10211633.html