Beirut explosion damages airport but flight operations unaffected

6 August 2020 (Last Updated August 7th, 2020 04:53)

Beirut-Rafik Hariri International Airport in Lebanon has reportedly been damaged after two very large explosions occurred at the Beirut port on 4 August.

Beirut explosion damages airport but flight operations unaffected
The Beirut Airport is located in the Tahouitet Ghadir area of the city which is around 10km away from the site of the explosion. Credit: Ian Lim.

Beirut-Rafik Hariri International Airport in Lebanon has reportedly been damaged after two very large explosions occurred at the Beirut port on 4 August.

The airport, which is located around 10km away from the area of explosion, is still operating flights.

The explosions at the port killed more than 135 and injured over 5,000 people, as of 6 August. The number of casualties is expected to increase as the rescue mission is still underway.

Lebanese officials said that the explosions were caused by 2,750t of ammonium nitrate that was stored in a warehouse for six years.

According to the United States Geological Survey data, the explosion generated seismic waves that are equivalent to an earthquake of 3.3 magnitude.

The National has reported that some lounges in Beirut Airport are damaged and that the windows were shattered. The airport’s ceiling at the arrivals entrances collapsed due to the incident.

Airlines such as Emirates, flydubai and Lebanon’s national airline, Middle East Airlines (MEA), continue to operate flights from the airport.

The flights are reportedly operating according to schedule and the departure times are close to the original time.

The National quoted an MEA official as saying that ‘no serious damage was sustained to any of MEA’s fleet on the ground’.

The airport restarted flights on 1 July after it was shut down due to the travel restrictions and health concerns amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lebanon President Michael Aoun has announced a three-day mourning period and said that the Lebanese Government would release emergency funds worth LBP100bn ($66m).

Many countries, including the UK, the UAE and Australia, have extended support to Lebanon.