An average of Eight parked MEA aircraft are damaged annually by celebratory gunfire, but this is the first time one was shot while airborne says the airline’s CEO
Beirut has a stray bullet problem, and it’s creating a concerning threat to air safety. On Thursday, an Airbus A320-200 was approaching the nation’s capital city for landing when a bullet punctured the fuselage, causing damage to the aircraft. Fortunately, the stray bullet missed passengers seated only a few feet from the impact site in seats 2D and 2F.
Celebratory gunfire is a common way of marking festive occasions in many Middle Eastern cultures. However, in a crowded city environment, the rain of bullets poses many threats to air and civilian safety.
At the end of 2020, festive new year’s gunfire left a female Syrian refugee dead and damaged new MEA aircraft parked on the tarmac at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport. “These practices of shooting in the air in Lebanon must be stopped … it is a source of danger to air traffic and the airport,” MEA Chairman Mohamad El-Hout told Reuters.