Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport, formerly Beirut International Airport, is Lebanon’s only operational commercial and international airport and is the hub of Middle East Airlines, the country’s national carrier. It is also the hub for the Lebanese cargo carrier Trans Mediterranean Airways and charter airlines Med Airways and Wings of Lebanon. It is located 9km (5.6mi) from the city centre in the southern suburbs of Beirut. It serves as the primary port of entry into the country, along with Port of Beirut. It is managed and operated by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. The airport’s terminal is comprised of two wings, the East and West Wing, joined together by the main terminal. It has 23 gates, 21 of which have jetways, and two of which are dual jetway gates for large aircraft.
The airport’s status as a premier hub in the Middle East is attributed to limited competition and the rapid growth by Lebanon’s four carriers: Middle East Airlines (MEA), Air Liban, Trans Mediterranean Airways (TMA), and Lebanese International Airways (LIA).
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon. It is also the largest and main seaport in the country, as well as an important hub for national economy and is Lebanon’s seat of government. The city was once the self-proclaimed "Paris of the Middle East". European architecture can be seen everywhere, and its outdoor café culture is alive and thriving. Some of the notable landmarks to check out are the Pigeon Rocks, a natural arch jutting up from the Mediterranean; the Place de l'Etoile (Nejmeh Square) where the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint George stands; Martyr's Statue in downtown; and Jeita Grotto, a compound of crystallised caves in Lebanon. Check out Beirut’s number of museums like National Museum Of Beirut, where around 1,300 artefacts are exhibited; Sursock Museum, a remarkable example of the typical 18th century Lebanese palace; Beirut Art Center, first non-profit public space in the city; and Matignon Gallery, which features Lebanese and International contemporary art. Stroll along some of Beirut’s parks such as Sanayeh Park, Horsh Beirut, Khalil Gebran Park, Debbas Square, Nejmeh Square, and Herbal Garden.
How to get around within Beirut
There are plenty of ways to navigate around Beirut. One is by taking the taxi. There are the older hail-taxis, which are considered as the most convenient form of transport in the city. Fares are charged per destination, not per distance travelled. It’s better if you know the names of the landmarks around the city beforehand, since some drivers aren’t well-oriented at some places. Pre-book taxis are more expensive but are far more luxurious and comfortable. They are also considered cheap compared to their American and European counterparts. Meanwhile, service taxis can be shared among four or more people. Daily commuters usually take service taxis. You can also get around by bus. The OCFTC and LCC are the two public transport companies that currently operate buses in the city. Buses in Beirut are frequent and provide efficient service. Driving is not highly recommended. Aside from traffic jams, especially at the city centre, parking is also difficult. Because of the city’s compact size, you can always explore it on foot. Streets are generally well signposted, and if you get lost, you can always ask locals for help.
How to get there
Aside from Lebanese carriers, Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport also houses other airlines including Aegean Airlines, Aeroflot, Alitalia, EgyptAir, Flydubai, Lufthansa, Royal Air Maroc, and Vueling, which fly to mostly European and Asian destinations.
To get to the city of Beirut from Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport, there is no public transportation that directly serves the airport. The only way to get to the city from the airport is by taxi, which is pricier than regular service taxis. These airport taxis are authorised by Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport. You can also opt to call a taxi from a regulated taxi company once you land at the airport. These taxis use standard fares and arrive within 5-10 minutes after the call. There are also private minibuses (small white buses with red plates) that depart from the departure area. You can also rent a car from the airport, since all major car rental companies have booking offices inside. LCC Bus Route 1 takes passengers from the airport roundabout. It is situated one kilometre from the terminal to Rue Sadat in Hamra. Route 5, on the other hand, runs to and from the Charles Helou bus station. OCFTC buses number seven and ten also stop at the airport roundabout, en route to central Beirut.
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