|Hariri International boosts traffic despite political crisis
|Air traffic activity at Rafik Hariri International Airport rose considerably in 2007 despite the gloomy political picture in the country.
According to figures released by airport authorities, aircraft activity saw a rise of 18.4 percent, with the total number of planes using the airport in 2007 amounting to 39,052, while passengers at the airport totaled 3,441,160, up by 25.6 percent on a yearly basis.
The authorities said that detailed aircraft activity suggests an equal increase of 18.4 percent in both arriving and departing planes.
"The former reached 19,532 planes, up from 16,491 arriving planes in 2006, while the latter was at 19,520 planes, as compared to a total of 16,489 departing planes in 2006," the authorities said.
As for passenger activity at the aiport, one can notice a large difference between the yearly rise in arriving passengers on one hand, and the yearly increase in departing passengers on the other hand.
Departing passengers increased by 38.3 percent to reach 1,763,836, whereas arrivals went up by less than half the aforesaid percentage, or 14.5 percent relative to the previous year, and totaled 1,677,324.
The notable difference in the growth rates of departing and arriving passengers reflect the low number of tourists, business and short-term visitors to Lebanon while highlighting a much more notable outflow that could be indicative of an increase in emigration.
As for transit passengers, they decreased by 3.7 percent year on-year to 82,401.
On a monthly basis, in December 2007 the number of passengers in the airport saw an increase of 29 percent compared to the same month of 2006.
The authorities said this rise is mostly due to an important increase of 38.5 percent in arriving passengers, to reach 191,280.
The Daily Star