|Passenger traffic up 29 percent at Beirut Airport (Daily Star)
|1.4 million travelers ... and counting
Beirut International Airport (BIA) recorded an impressive 28.98 percent growth in passenger traffic for the first six months of the year when compared to the same period last year, reaching a total of 1.4 million passengers.
During the same period, the number of arriving passengers increased by 30.35 percent, the number of departing passengers rose by 27.12 percent and the number of transiting passengers increased by 32.61 percent. The amount of arriving passengers reached 726,118 passengers, departing 650,110, and transiting 68,235 - a total of 1,444,463. In June alone, a total of 298,882 passengers flew in, out and through BIA.
A total of 18,173 planes landed and took off from BIA's runway during the first six months of the year and a total of 29,077.693 metric tons were loaded and unloaded in the airport. Moreover, 611 tons of mail was dispatched via BIA.
Traffic in BIA during the first six months of 2003 had increased by 0.45 percent when compared to the same period a year earlier mainly due to the negative effect of the war in Iraq. Only transiting passengers had increased during that period, marking an impressive 33.15 percent growth.
Traffic in BIA has gradually risen for some years now, ever since authorities adopted an open skies policy. This gives foreign airlines the freedom to carry passengers in, out and through BIA and lifts restrictions on the number of flights.
The policy was adopted in the hope of bringing more tourists to Lebanon, and helping fill up the airport, which has a capacity to receive 6 million tourists a year but barely caters for half of that number.
The Daily Star