Safety concerns delay Beirut service
Air Serbia will postpone the launch of its flights to the Lebanese capital Beirut due to the deteriorating safety situation in the country. As EX-YU Aviation News learns, flight will be launched in June if safety conditions in Lebanon improve. Beirut, which was to be inaugurated by Air Serbia along with a further five new destinations this summer, has been the best selling route out of the batch which includes Budapest, Sofia, Varna, Warsaw and Kiev. The new service to Beirut has been popular mainly with transit passengers from France and Germany. The Serbian carrier suspended ticket sales to the Lebanese capital yesterday and is due to give an official statement next week.
Lebanon has been engulfed by a series of suicide bombings in the past few weeks, the latest of which occurred last Saturday when three people were killed and fifteen others wounded. The political and security situation in the country has been hit by the ongoing civil war in neighbouring Syria. Lebanon has seen the number of visiting tourists plunge in the past year with several Gulf states banning their nationals from entering the country. Earlier this year, Air Serbia cancelled planned flights to Cairo in Egypt due to the political situation in the country. Despite the unrest in Ukraine, the Serbian carrier will go ahead with plans to launch the new service to Kiev on May 28.
Air Serbia’s flights to Beirut were to initially launch on March 30 with three weekly services, increasing to daily from June 1. Passengers who have booked tickets with the airline will be offered alternative transport or a full refund. As EX-YU Aviation News learns, Air Serbia is considering launching new destinations as a result of its decision to pull out of Beirut with the Albanian capital Tirana being the frontrunner. Within the former Yugoslavia this summer, Lebanon’s national carrier, Middle East Airlines, will operate a one weekly service to Sarajevo, while charter carrier Wings of Lebanon plans to offer up to 22 flights between Beirut and Dubrovnik between June and September.