Greece’s flag carrier Aegean Airlines (32A) has decided to temporarily halt flights to and from Beirut in Lebanon, after damage was found on the fuselage on one of its aircraft that had recently landed in the country.
The flight suspension came into effect on January 15, 2022. The airline confirmed to the media that it discovered damages to the external fuselage on one of its Airbus A320 jets after the aircraft landed at Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY) on January 10, 2022. However, the carrier did not identify the type of damage found.
Multiple reports posted on social media, which were later picked up by Lebanese media, suggested that the plane may have been hit by flying bullets. However, Ali Hamie, the Lebanese minister of public works and transport, denied that gunfire was the cause of the damage.
On January 15, 2022, the minister shared on his official Twitter account a letter that had been exchanged between Lebanese officials. The letter suggested that the authorities had found a hole in the left rear cockpit window. But once the hole was examined, the authorities determined that damage to the external aircraft fuselage was not caused by a bullet.
“After close examination, it was determined that [the damage, ed.-] was not the result of a bullet,” the letter reads.
The letter concludes: “The pictures of the hole and the gate were also sent through the CEO of the World Aviation Forum (WAF) in Washington DC to the appropriate organizations who confirmed that the hole is not the result of a bullet nor Gate 15. It was most probably caused by ground equipment before the aircraft arrival to Beruit.”
للبعض أقول:— Ali Hamie | علي حمية (@alihamie_lb) January 15, 2022
هو المكان الصحيح لتصفية الحسابات السياسية وليس هكذا ننهض بلبنان عبر التصويب على مرافقه ،والتي نسعى لتفعيلها وزيادة ايراداتها ،بغية المساهمة في تحصين القرار السيادي للبنان #ارحموا_بلدكم#التقرير_الفني يدحض ما ادعاه هؤلاء pic.twitter.com/isT9BfgMUQ
The flight suspension will continue until the investigation into the cause of the damage has been completed.