150 passengers deplaned, 100 stranded for Michel Aoun delegation to New York
As many as 150 passengers were deplaned from a passenger flight in Lebanon on Monday after the plane was abruptly designated to commute Lebanese President, Michel Aoun to New York.
The plane belonging to Middle East Airlines (MEA), Lebanon’s national flag-carrier airline, was heading from Beirut to Cairo. Passengers were forced to disembark from the plane and, as a result, remained stuck at the airport for 9 hours.
On the other end, another 100 passengers were stuck at the Cairo airport as they waited for the same fight to take them back to Beirut. The event sparked a string of messages on social media. There were posts suggesting that the plane was confiscated to join a large fleet of four aircraft allocated to transfer Aoun and his delegation to attend the UN General Assembly meetings in New York.
@MEAAIRLIBAN can you explain what was the reason of postponing the 308 flight to Cairo this morning for 8 hours without any previou snotice and explanations? do you know that some passengers might have important meetings and committments? they owe you the minimum of respect— Ziad Abdel Samad (@ziadas) September 23, 2018
Lebanese MP Paula Yacoubian reacted sarcastically in a reference to the Lebanese President on her twitter account: “The father of all, put everyone down and flew away”.
The airline apologized to the passengers that were meant to board their midday flights. Meanwhile, the presidential media office held aviation entities responsible for the defect claiming that presidential flight procedures have not changed for decades.