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Lebanon layover: Ryanair to launch cheap flights to Beirut

The budget airline already flies to Israel, Morocco and Jordan [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 July, 2019

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Flights will fly three times a week from Paphos in Cyprus to Beirut from 30 October, with initial fares starting at just €15 (£13) each way, according to reports.
Europe's biggest budget airline will soon fly to Lebanon’s capital, the Irish carrier confirmed, its third Middle East destination.

Flights will fly three-times-a-week from Paphos in Cyprus to Beirut from 30 October, with initial fares starting at just €15 (£13) each way, according to a report by The Independent.

"We're pleased to announce Ryanair’s low fares have arrived at Beirut, our newest airport and first in Lebanon," the airline's spokesperson, Chiara Ravara, said.

"Customers in Lebanon can book low fare flights to Paphos as far out as March 2020."

The Boeing 737 flight will travel 183 miles between the two airports, and is expected to take just 65 minutes. 

The new cheaper link would prove to offer stiff competition for current British Airways and Middle East Airlines, which fly to Beirut from London’s Heathrow Airport for more than £300 return.

Passengers travelling to Beirut via Paphos will now be able to pay just £115 return flight from London's Stansted using Ryanair, The Independent reported.

Nine years ago, Lebanon's tourism minister  urged the airliner, as well as easyJet, to "consider Lebanon" where there was huge demand for cheap flights, Fadi Abboud said.

Last year, Ryanair launched flights to Amman and Aqaba in Jordan, expanding its operations in the Middle East where it already operates in Israel and Morocco.

The airline, which carried almost 130 million passengers last year, said it expected to fly 430,000 passengers per year to-and-from Jordan.

"Enhancing air connectivity is one of the key areas Jordan is focusing on given its impact on unlocking economic growth through attracting business investment as well as spurring tourism," Jordan's Minister of Tourism Lina Annab said in a statement welcoming Ryanair's announcement in March last year.

Both Jordan and Lebanon have been attempting to revive tourism, which nose-dived in 2011 over fears of spillover from the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

Lebanon's caretaker minister of tourism Avedis Guidanian last year said tourism makes up 8 to 10 percent of Lebanon's GDP.

Prior to 2011, Gulf countries fuelled Lebanon's tourism. Guidanian said the country will have to move towards attracting tourists from new markets such as China, Russia, India and Europe.

Lebanon welcomed 1.85 million tourists in 2017, according to the tourism ministry, the most since 2010 when 2.16 million travellers arrived.

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