No Lebanon, Killing The Costa Brava Birds Won’t Fix The Airport’s Problems or Your Corruption

I thought it was a joke, that a couple of days ago a governmental job offering opened up asking for “experts” in the art of hunting birds to chase them away from Beirut’s airport in case they show up there.

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It turns out that was nowhere near a joke, with the only farce being this semblance of governance that we have that, when faced with a problem and a clear solution, opts for the ridiculous measures instead because why not?

Although it’s been known that the situation at Beirut’s airport has been precarious for a while, the issue exploded a few days ago after an MEA flight had a near-miss with a crash because of those birds.

Since then, Lebanon’s government has been trying to scramble itself to action to try and fix what it can. Their solution? Well, look at the pictures below.

To put it bluntly: how ridiculous, short-sighted and utterly silly is our government to think that killing the birds is a fix to the problem?

For starters, those birds are innocent animals who are flocking to an area providing them with food and warmth.

Those birds are not the threat to your planes. The threat is the fact you decided to have a landfill against every single international standard 100 meter away from the airport and 9 meters away from the sea and are now surprised this has repercussions.

Those birds that are being massacred in a testosterone-fueled assault are yet another casualty of successive governments that 1) don’t give a rat’s ass about the environment, 2) have no idea what they’re doing and 3) will do anything to keep their corrupt practices in place.

The reason those birds are there isn’t because they woke up one day and decided they wanted to threaten the airport nearby. No, they’re there because we have a governing body that would do anything to keep its interests intact, including threatening the lives of thousands of passengers daily as long as it can keep the landfills and dumps from which it’s making money wherever they are.

The thing about those birds is that they will keep coming, no matter how many of them you kill, because of that landfill whose existence you’re trying to ignore.

The Lebanese government is killing those birds to make them pay for its failures. This is unacceptable and revolting and horrifying. And the worst part is? It’s paying those hunters for this “job” from our own tax money, instead of investing in an actual solution that won’t see us facing the threat of death every time we take off or land in this God-forsaken country’s only airport.

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

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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.