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Kuwait Airways cancels its Beirut flights

Apr 14

Kuwait Airways cancels its Beirut flights

Kuwait Airways announced Thursday that it would immediately halt all flights to Lebanon’s Rafik Hariri International Airport, after receiving a security warning from authorities in Cyprus. Kuwait’s national carrier “decided to stop flights to Beirut starting Thursday, April 12, until further notice,” a tweet from the airline’s official account said early Thursday.

A separate tweet clarified that the decision was “based on serious security warnings received from the Cypriot authorities on the danger of flying in the airspace surrounding the Republic of Lebanon.” The decision was taken to insure the safety of passengers, the tweet said.

The European Aviation Safety Agency Tuesday alerted airlines to the possible launch of air-to-ground missiles in the eastern Mediterranean, causing major airlines to begin rerouting flights to avoid Syrian airspace and other areas surrounding Lebanon.

A day after the warning was issued by Europe’s air safety watchdog, U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia of imminent military action in Syria over a suspected poison gas attack in the town of Douma, declaring that missiles “will be coming.”

Also Wednesday, Public Works and Transport Minister Youssef Fenianos announced that Lebanon’s national carrier, Middle East Airlines, would temporarily reroute its flights to avoid Syrian airspace over fears of a possible U.S. strike. MEA is one of the last international carriers that still regularly flies over Syria despite years of war.

“There is no need to panic,” Fenianos said. “The decision was taken as a precautionary measure.”

A timetable on MEA’s website showed the carrier’s flights to Amman, Baghdad and the Gulf with extra minutes tacked on as the airplanes avoid their usual quick routes over Syria. The new routes were set to go into effect Wednesday evening and will last until Friday, local media reported.

zawya