Cypriot airline banned from Lebanese airspace over Israeli shares

Lebanon has banned the largest airline in Cyprus, TUS Airways, from flying over Lebanese airspace or landing at Beirut international airport, citing that an Israeli corporation owns the company’s shares.

In a statement published by the state-run National News Agency on Saturday, the Director General of the Lebanese Civil Aviation Authority, Fadi al-Hassan, said the Israeli company Knafaim Holdings Ltd. owns 49.9% of the stock of the Cypriot airline.

Hassan added that he had already received a letter from the Cypriot Civil Aviation Authority announcing the appointment of TUS Airways as the carrier in air transport services between Cyprus and Lebanon based on a bilateral agreement signed in 2017.

The Lebanese official noted that the ban on the Cypriot airline will remain in effect until further notice, and that the decision to close Lebanese airspace to the Cypriot airline was taken within the framework of the Boycott of Israel Law.

The Lebanese Civil Aviation Authority referred the matter to the General Directorate of Economy and Commerce to verify the status of the company, especially as the directorate had requested not to deal with companies of a similar status, the latest of which were the two Ukrainian companies Aerosvit Ukrainian Airlines and the Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA).

In 1951, the Arab League called on member states to prohibit all kinds of political, economic, commercial and cultural relations with Israel.

The approved law is very strict and punishes any contact, even individually, between Lebanese and Israeli citizens.

Israel and Lebanon have technically been at war for decades although the last major conflict was the 33-day-long Israeli military onslaught on the country in the summer of 2006.

Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 during the latter’s civil war and occupied Lebanese territory until 2000.

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