BEIRUT — Lebanese air traffic controllers announced late Tuesday that they will halt their night shifts starting Aug. 1 due to worsening working conditions at Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport, the state-run national News Agency reported.
Here’s what we know:
• Representatives of air traffic controllers, who oversee landings and take-offs from Beirut, decried in a statement their teams being severely understaffed, preventing the employees from taking days off or implementing staff rotations.
• They added that the declining number of air traffic controllers at the airport are due to retirement, emigration or resignations stemming from difficult working conditions, the NNA reported.
• Faced with this dire situation, air traffic controllers announced that they will no longer work at night, between 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., as of August 1. They also demanded a reduction in the number of flights scheduled during the day “in line with the work capacity of air traffic controllers.”
• In 2021, an anonymous source at the Beirut International Airport had told L'Orient-Le Jour that 30 percent of the staff had left their jobs. Civil Aviation Director General Fadi El-Hassan had denied in October 2021 reports that the Beirut airport is at risk of having to suspend nighttime activity due to a shortage of air traffic controllers.