At 10:30, OD-AAB, a Cessna 172S type aircraft operated by Open Sky Aviation took off from
BRHIA under VFR regulation on a sightseeing tour along the seashore towards Jbeil. Beirut
Tower cleared the aircraft for takeoff “RWY 17 right turn out report BOD climbing 3,000 feet”.
Six minutes later OD-AAB reported “approaching Dora Bay 3000 feet”, at which time the pilot
was instructed to contact Beirut Control 119.3, which he did and reported “approaching Dora
Bay 3000 feet proceeding to Jounieh then Jbeil”.
Four minutes later the aircraft entered and recovered from a stall maneuver. A couple of minutes
later it requested and was granted permission to descend to 2500 feet due to clouds and initiated
an orbit over Tabarja. A minute later it requested and was granted clearance to rejoin at 2500
feet. The aircraft exited the orbit on an approximate heading of 145 degrees and flew on that
heading for approximately two minutes then turned further left on an approximate heading of
110 degrees and disappeared from the Radar screen at time 10:45:57.
The aircraft hit the mountain in Ghosta less than a minute after disappearing from the Radar
screen and the wreckage was found on a heading of approximately 050 degrees among trees and
one and a half meter higher than the rooftop of a villa, 5 meters to its East.
All occupants were fatally injured. SAR operations were initiated immediately.
The SD cards were retrieved from the wreckage and read at the BEA facility at Le Bourget,
France. The last recording was at time 10:46:07.
Rafic Hariri International Airport
Air Passengers, Cargo, and Aircraft Movement Analysis 2008 – 2017
Dr. Angel Aouad:Director of the Research and Studies Department
Eng. Mark Nasr: Head of the Sector ofEconomic Studies
The Research & Studies Department of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has prepared a study that analyses the traffic of aircrafts, passengers and cargo at Beirut international airport for the period ranging from 01/01/2008 until 31/12/2017.
The study reveals the following:
1 - Number of Passenger: (Graph 1 & Graph 3)
The number of passengers was around 750,000 in the early sixties. It increased yearly at a rate of 10.8% to reach a peak of around 2,750,000 in 1974. The outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975 caused a significant decrease in passenger traffic, reaching a low of 230,000 in 1989.
As the war ended, the number of passengers increased again from 640,000 in 1990 to more than 8,200,000 by the end of 2017.
Examining the passenger traffic from 2008 to 2017, the results show that it has been increasing by a yearly rate that varied from 1.83% to 22%. The difference in the yearly rate of increase is linked to the political situation in Lebanon and the region.
There are several factors that have caused the increase in passenger traffic at Beirut international airport. Out of these factors we list the main ones:
- The adoption of the “open sky” policy in 2000 by the Council of Ministers that has resulted in an increase in the number of airlines flying to Lebanon, and also an increase in the number of flights and destinations.
- The cancelation of the need for an entry visa to Turkey in 2009 for Lebanese citizens and the possibility to reside in Turkey for three months.
- Syrian refugees that have used the Beirut airport since 2011, as a gateway to reach other destinations.
- Campaigns to visit holy sites in Iraq through Beirut airport that started in 2013 due to the difficulty of traveling through Syria.
- The diplomatic crisis in 2017 between several Arab countries and Qatar has transformed Beirut airport into a transit point.
- The increase in the number of non-scheduled flights during summer, holidays and pilgrimage seasons.
- The cancelation of the need for a visa to enter several countries such as Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Jordan, Oman, Turkey and Qatar and the facilitation of visa procedures to countries such as Egypt
- The increase of visits of Lebanese expatriates to Lebanon.
- The increasing number of Lebanese students studying abroad.
- The increase of travel of Lebanese and foreign businesspersons to and from Lebanon.
The study also indicates that the number of passengers will exceed 10,000,000 by the end of 2020.
2 - Air Passengers Distribution by destination: (Graph 2 & Graph 4)
The numbers show that passenger traffic from and to Beirut Airport is primarily (around 41% highest rank) to the Arabian Gulf i.e. the Arabian Peninsula, Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait. This is due to the large number of Lebanese working in these countries and the high number of transit flights from these countries.
23,4% of the flights (second place) are to countries of the Middle East such as Iran, Iraq and Jordan, where many Lebanese travel for work or pilgrimages. In addition, the increase of non-scheduled flights to countries such as Turkey, Cyprus, …, during the summer and holiday seasons has led new airlines to offer flights. This has led to the reduction in the price of tickets and consequently an increase in the number of passengers.
Graph 4 shows that the number of passengers traveling within the Middle East region has increased by 279%. It increased from 581,900 passengers in 2008 to 2,200,000 in 2017; some of these countries are used as a transit gate to many Lebanese heading to other destinations.
Travel from Beirut to countries in Western Europe ranks third. Western European airports are transit hubs to global destinations.
3 - Aircraft, Passenger & Cargo Growth Rate: (Graph 4)
Lebanon’s strategic position that links Asia, Europe and Africa, along with its free trading system has made it one of the important trading centers in the Mediterranean basin. Its import/export traffic constitutes one of the most important pillars of Lebanon’s economy.
In fact, Lebanon is known for mostly exporting agricultural products to countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq and Jordan. In addition, to agriculture produce, Lebanon exports jewelry and processed foods. On the other hand, Lebanon’s most imports products are pharmaceuticals and electrical equipment. It has been noticed that the import and export traffic is in increasing significantly from and to the Middle East and North and West Africa.