Beirut’s Airport Is Not Safe For Air Travel Anymore; A Disaster Could Happen At Any Moment


Add the current situation of Beirut’s airport to the growing (and endless) list of complete failures that Lebanon’s governments can add to their achievements: the airport is not only unsafe for air travel anymore, it’s become so dangerous that an air disaster not happening already is nothing short of a miracle.

To fix the trash crisis that their ineptitude caused, Lebanon’s government saw it fit to build a landfill which almost literally borders the airport wall, south of Beirut, calling it the Costa Brava landfill. As physics and common sense have it, establishing a landfill that close to the airport (or any airport for that matter) doesn’t come without repercussions.

Apart from the toxic fumes that could damage airplane engines and our lungs, as well as the hotter air that emanates from the landfill which could disrupt aviation, the birds attracted to the landfill could literally cause airplanes to crash. The government is aware of this problem so they installed ultrasonic bird repellers, which obviously don’t work.

This almost happened yesterday with an MEA plane, as reported by LBC, that was faced with a flock of seagulls as it was landing, leading the western runway the plane used to be closed until the birds were dealt with. How did the government respond? By increasing the numbers of ultrasonic bird repellers that, as established, don’t work.

I guess the only way they’ll do something is by a plane crashing and hundreds of people dying. You know, that’ll be the best way for them to proclaim they’re doing something and go to the victims’ funerals, shake the hands of their families and have their coffins draped in our flag.

You see, while the movie “Sully” in which Tom Hanks, playing the true story of airlines pilot Chelsey Sullenberg whose plane got hit by birds as it took off form New York, causing both engines to fail and leading him to land the plane in the Hudson river, was a riveting Hollywood story, things almost never play out that way. Are we counting on countless miracles to keep our airport running?

An anonymous source inside Beirut’s airport confirmed this saying that: “If the International Air Transport Association (IATA) were to show up at Beirut’s airport unannounced, the place would be closed down in a matter of hours. This is how unsafe things have become.”

It doesn’t stop there. He says that aviation has become so hazardous that “it’s a miracle how a crash has not occurred already. We literally hold our breaths every time a plane departs or lands.” Why hasn’t this made the media rounds yet? Because “airport officials are trying to hide it.”

I guess our safety and our lives are not worth anyone getting a headache over a media scandal. A plane crash is much easier to brush by, isn’t it?

Beirut’s airport is not only unsafe to use, it’s going to get us killed if we keep using it. The troubling part is that this is our only airport. The horrifying part is while our government is aware of this, they choose not to act out on it because, as we do things in Lebanon, we cross our fingers and hope for the best. Well, not this time.

26 thoughts on “Beirut’s Airport Is Not Safe For Air Travel Anymore; A Disaster Could Happen At Any Moment

    • Are you seriously taking the piss at the author? What have you got to offer?
      Mr as powerless as anyone? At least he wrote about it, maybe it will stir something inside your brains for instance? maybe someone can help somewhere? I don’t get it with people attacking anyone with a thought or an opinion just because it doesn’t include a well detailed solution and a business plan with a clear ROI for all Lebanese citizen.
      Get off your cunthole and do something yourself if you feel appalled by the lack of solutions in the article. Jesus.


  1. this was mentioned on Marcel’s show months and months ago, just after the last round of garbage crisis could only be resolved through Costa Brava. Every other option was shot down due to many reasons, including a proposal by Hariri himself to solve the situation in Arsal, but we all know who didn’t like that and why. Anyways point is moot and at this point I am praying for IATA to show up and actually close the airport. The government cannot genuinely fix this problem right now as they cannot go back to the trash crisis and all that entailed. Our airport is a mess because it is run by a mafia that control everything from the janitors they hire from their local villages to the coffee shop that charges you a mortgage for a small coffee. The only real solution is to open up a second airport in the North, but Hezbollah will shoot that idea down as the airport is in a very strategic location right now and they can hold the country ransom when they want to. It’s too messy, allah yestor.


  2. Oh and now you are a flying expert as well
    It’s very easy to whine and nag when you can’t offer any solution
    It’s bad to keep talking crap and sharing bad propaganda about your country
    Problems should be rationally adressed by right ppl… not cry babies


    • I like how you’re more annoyed about “sharing bad propaganda about [the] country” but apparently unfazed by the fact that governmental corruption has gotten us to the point where we need to talk about birds posing a serious threat to our lives.

      Just an FYI, I did not say I’m a flying expert. I have a source at the airport who gave me some information and I’ve also done some research about the issue which has been floating around for months. It’s not my problem your head is so up your ass the only thing you read about Lebanon is about how Beirut is so beautiful and how perfect the country is. Oh and for the record, it’s not. Deal with it.

      Also problems should be raised for them to be addressed. And as long as we share the country with the likes of you, who’d rather call us cry babies for sharing “bad propaganda” and “talking crap” about the country, we’ll keep piling up problems just so you’d be happy about all that joie de vivre crap you’re probably bragging about all the time. Peace out.


      • The country is not perfect, of course not, bcz it is full of naggers who never achieved or will achieve anyth, but rant about everything being not perfect…
        These are the real ppl with their heads up their asses… (it’s a cry baby expression lol)
        When someone says they have “a source”, they are usually making that crap up :p… otherwise state your references.
        Of course there are problems, this is a thirld world country, but time will tell how things will get better, you’ll see…
        And it’s of course not bcz of ppl who talk dirt, but bcz there are Lebanese who decided to stay in their country, fight for opportunities and aim to make it better despite all…
        And again, time will tell
        Hopefully we will soon have a country that we can proudly call Home


    • Oh aren’t you a special one.
      So you expect every piece of writing to include a solution otherwise it’s just whining, bad propaganda and talking crap?
      There is much more crap coming from a comment like yours than any article by anybody trying to raise awareness on any matter.


    • Farid, you don’t deserve to be breathing at this moment.
      People like you are the reason why Lebanon is a big garbage bag.
      Shut up and go find yourself a high building to jump from 🙂 and spare us from your bulllshit !!!!


  3. Any sources to back up your ideas?
    What a negative article. You should be more positive as everyone needs it, or back up your opinion with facts.
    Note that nowhere is safe anymore.
    Your article is irrelevant.


    • “Anonymous source in Beirut’s airport” is one.

      Two is the link about the MEA crash.

      Three is the Minister of Transport telling the BBC “Thank God, up until now, the flights have not encountered any danger.”

      And no, not everywhere is unsafe. Some airports are models in security whereby planes don’t have an increased risk of birdstrikes every single time they take off or land. You have a huge freaking landfill 100 meters away from the airport fence. Aviation experts have been warning about it for months, and you’re here being annoyed by my “negative” article?

      You know what, people like you need more than a wake-up call to realize that not everyone who writes something about this country or its problems other than “oh this is the best place ever,” and “God created Lebanon and it was so perfect that he said fuck all the other countries” hates the country.

      I’ll “be more positive” when I don’t risk dying because of my government’s inadequacies every time I fly out or in to the airport. Or when I’m as high on whatever you’re having to the point where I don’t even notice the bullshit anymore and make myself live so deep in la la land I don’t even know which is way’s up and which way’s down. Cheers.


  4. It is amazing that there are assholes complaining about the article being “negative”. For fucks sake, how can you remain positive when the government keeps on ramming you in the ass with such utter nonsense? Some Lebanese citizens really deserve to be in such a situation where their lives are at risk in order to grasp a simple concept about safety.


  5. This article is spot on! The airport, its staff, and passengers are in grave danger. Projects of this magnitude require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to assess the effects of the project on the surrounding environment. I was assigned to perform an EIA for the costa Brava landfill for a technical elective in university, and the results of my report are staggering.

    First off, to be able to perform such a report, no information about the project was available online. Contacting the corresponding contractor and ministries was completely useless as well. I did, however, manage to receive some information about the project from someone within the organization who wishes to remain anonymous. The lack of information shared just showcases that something is clearly off.

    Second, the location chosen for the project doesn’t comply with international and local standards. The landfill is located at a distance of just 168 meters from the nearest runway, failing to meet the minimum distance accepted by international organizations. This, as it has already been reported in the article, is a great danger to the airplanes, due to the birds attracted by the landfill. Methods for preventing and controlling birds are widely available, but they are not 100% efficient and they cannot work for such small distances (168m).

    Third. The scope of impact of this landfill goes well beyond the airport. The landfill is located at a distance of 9 meters from the sea and is protected by a breakwater. However, this distance of 9 meters is much less than what is required by international standards, and washing up of the garbage into the sea is inevitable. This, of course, means further contaminating the already toxic waters in the area. This not only affects the sea water, but also living organisms, such as sea turtles, which lay their eggs nearby.

    Fourth, an EIA covers impacts on the human environment as well. The large amounts of methane and other toxic gases realeased by the landfill will most likely end up not collected. Even though the information provided specified some type of methane collection, based on previous case studies, such as the Naameh landfill, these gases will most likely not be captured. This will have negative impacts on the health of people in the surrounding areas.

    To be honest, the list of negative impacts is so long, that it cannot be fully summarized in this comment. The main conclusion, however, is that a change in location is definitely needed. Ideally, a de-centralized recycling system with de-centralized landfills would solve all of our problems. Realistically, however, we know that the Lebanese population is not educated enough to undergo such sophisticated processes. A change in location is the only solution that can be given to resolve his huge problem.

    Please note that I’m just a student doing a project for a class and I was able to find such information. Why can’t a whole government with hundreds of engineers figure this out? What a joke !


  6. Honestly, I have lost hope. Problems just keep piling up and nothing seems to be done about it and it just frustrates the hell out of me. But what is even more frustrating is reading those ignorant comments thinking (or perhaps believing) that Lebanon’s corruptions are acceptable. Perhaps you haven’t been out there, perhaps you haven’t traveled enough to see the world and envy a similar SAFE living environment that we citizens deserve. Why? My answer to you is because you don’t believe you can do any better and all you do is criticize those who are better than you simply because it makes you feel better about your current situation. Instead you find all the negatives about those more developed countries and even those who moved there and all we are good for is partying hard and getting trashed. Culture wise? Zero. Ambition wise? Null. Not to mention the laziness you people have when it comes to reading and educating yourselves. It’s so sad to see this but I can tell you one thing, you have become a minority because 60% of the Lebanese I know are well educated and are fighting for a better living but unfortunately have left the country. I am next sadly enough, only because Lebanon left me no choice. If it weren’t for my family being here, nothing would make me want to come back. Please people, open your eyes and stop accepting the unacceptable. It is NOT ok to live under these conditions!


  7. anonymous source?? if this important. State the source, Cite your sources..

    honestly … as much as i DO see the bs that happen in lebanon.
    i find this blog very irrelevant. you think a pilot would RISK his OWN life taking a passenger plane in the air having any sort of HAZARD? I am currently listening to all the damn planes takeland over my head because they shut the run way.. if all was so unsafe… and they didn’t care and we are all doomed. I myself would of been in a crash when a Lufthansa plane has the engine failure and they refused to take us off…
    so what kind of travel shall we do?.. canoe?.. boat?… walk?…. dude… If it so important the source wouldn’t stay anonymous … the source if they REALLY Care should declare how they know what they know.

    well im traveling soon .. i hope i dont crash.. and i doubt i will if anything its likely to happens in those over indulged airports with so many flights at once .. error can happen any time.

    and blame who ever owns the costa brava land for being a sell out and tarnishing the rea with the terrible smell i have to deal with..
    if you wana conque an issue..
    why does the airport free way always smell like piss and shit?
    my theory is they dump airplane waste near that free way ( to saida khalde)
    thats ONE THING i wanna know about!!


  8. Just wanted to point at the statement: “a riveting Hollywood story” is incorrect. It is actually based on a true story, and it happenned in Jan 15th 2009.


  9. Pingback: No Lebanon, Killing The Costa Brava Birds Won’t Fix The Airport’s Problems or Your Corruption | A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

  10. Pingback: 10 Things Lebanon Hasn’t Discovered Yet (Or Ever?) As NASA Reveals 7 New Habitable Planets | A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

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