Lebanon opts to keep airspace open despite Russian drills

Rafik Hariri International Airport, Beirut .
Rafik Hariri International Airport, Beirut .

Flights operating out of Beirut airport will continue unaffected despite a notice of planned Russian naval drills in the Mediterranean, a Lebanese airport official said Friday.

Lebanese Transportation Minister Ghazi Zeaiter told local media earlier that Lebanon was studying a Russia request to shut some of its airspace and would make a final decision after calls with Russian officials and regional transportation officials.

Airport official Ibrahim Abu Alioun said the subsequent decision to continue normal operations came on Zeaiter’s orders.

Russia has been carrying out airstrikes in neighboring Syria and has intensified those strikes in recent days after confirmation that a bomb brought down a Russian plane over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Lebanese national carrier Middle East Airlines said all flights would proceed as normal from its hub in the capital, Beirut. In a statement, it said some flights to Gulf Arab states would take longer because alternative routes would be taken.

Associated Press

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