BMed flies back into Beirut

Beirut
Source:
This story is sourced from Flight International
Subscribe today »

British Airways franchise partner BMed last week became the first airline to restore international services to Beirut, after operating a humanitarian flight from London on 17 August, writes David Kaminski-Morrow in Beirut.

Flight KJ001 from London Heathrow, operated with an Airbus A321, touched down on Rafic Hariri International airport's runway 16, the only usable strip remaining after Israeli attacks at the start of the recent conflict.

Beirut's runway 16 is damaged at its southern end, but BMed chief pilot Michael Crosby, speaking to Flight International on board the flight, said that 2,000m (6,560ft) of landing distance was still available.

Israeli authorities - who are maintaining a blockade of Lebanon - were advised of the flight, which was handled by Lebanese air traffic control.

At least one fuel tank was hit during the Israeli assault on the airport. "The infrastructure is generally sound except for the fuel tanks," says Crosby. "It's mainly an issue of quality checks on [fuel] delivery systems."

BMed commercial director Jonathan Grisdale says the carrier intends to initially operate a four-times-weekly service to Beirut, its first destination when it launched in 1994.