Beirut airport traffic slumps as coronavirus hits Lebanon's tourism sector

Number of passengers travelling via the Beirut International Airport contracted by nearly 75% during the first eight months of 2020

The stark impact of coronavirus on the tourism industry in Lebanon was laid bare on Monday as Beirut International Airport announced a significant drop in passengers visiting the country.

The airport reported weak numbers throughout the first eight months of 2020, with the highest contraction registered in the second quarter of the year, as lockdown measures were imposed on the country to prevent the spread of the virus.

The number of passengers travelling via the Beirut International Airport (BIA) contracted by nearly 75 percent to 1,557,273 during the first eight months of the current year, down from 6,222,002 passengers in the same period in 2019.

Beirut International Airport resumed commercial flights on July 1, keeping air traffic at 10 percent of capacity from a year ago, while private flights resumed from June 24.

The number of arrivals contracted by 76.7 percent to 726,021 with the number of departing travellers also dropping by 73.9 percent to 803,573 in the same period. The number of transit travellers also fell by 20.5 percent to 27,679, with the number of flights settling 65.5 percent lower on a yearly basis at 17,358.

The airport’s activity was the lowest during the second quarter of 2020 since as airport was closed from March 18 until the end of June.

All foreigners wishing to visit Lebanon must have an insurance valid during their whole stay in the country to cover the expenses of the coronavirus medical treatment if test findings are positive.

The explosion that shook Beirut port on August 4 also damaged the Beirut International Airport, without affecting flights.

The number of total arrivals is expected to stay relatively low compared to last year for the coming months, with tourists being discouraged from travelling to Lebanon especially after Beirut’s explosion which raised the security threat in the country.

However, the number of departures might increase since a significant number of Lebanese are planning to emigrate and continue their studies abroad.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Source: Read Full Article