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Air Traffic Controllers at Lebanon's Sole Civilian Airport to Strike Due to Staffing Shortages

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Air Traffic Controllers at Beirut's Only Civilian Airport to Strike over Staffing Shortages

Air traffic controllers at Lebanon's Rafik Hariri International Airport, the country's sole civilian airport, have announced their plans to go on strike next month. The strike is in response to severe staffing shortages that have impacted the airport's operations. The team of 13 air traffic controllers highlights that the airport is supposed to have a staff of 87 controllers, indicating a significant shortfall. This announcement comes after a report by the European Union's aviation safety watchdog raised concerns about the airport's operations. Lebanon has been grappling with a severe economic crisis, which has led to a deterioration of public sector institutions. The airport has faced challenges such as power cuts and equipment shortages, further exacerbating the situation. Despite the influx of over 4 million people into Lebanon this year, the staffing shortages have persisted. The strike is scheduled to begin on September 5th, with controllers refusing to work between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. The controllers have expressed frustration at the government's lack of response to their repeated proposals to address the issue, including bringing in experts from abroad. They also highlight their concerns about safety and the age of the current workforce. Government officials have yet to respond to the announcement, while the General Directorate of Civil Aviation has attributed the staff shortage to global issues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The authorities have stated that they are training new staff with the support of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Implications of Beirut's Airport Strike for New Businesses

The impending strike by air traffic controllers at Lebanon's only civilian airport, Rafik Hariri International Airport, could have serious implications for new businesses in the region. The strike, triggered by severe staffing shortages, could disrupt air travel and logistics, potentially affecting businesses reliant on air freight or international travel. The strike is symptomatic of wider issues in Lebanon, which is grappling with a severe economic crisis and a deterioration of public sector institutions. These challenges, which include power cuts and equipment shortages, could create a difficult operating environment for new businesses. Furthermore, the planned strike hours, from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., could disrupt peak travel times and further complicate logistics. This could pose challenges for businesses in sectors such as tourism, hospitality, and e-commerce, which often rely on efficient air travel and freight services. The strike also underscores the importance of adequate staffing and the need for effective government response to such issues. The government's lack of response to the controllers' proposals and concerns could signal potential hurdles for businesses seeking government support or intervention. In conclusion, the planned strike at Beirut's airport could pose significant challenges for new businesses, highlighting the need for contingency planning and a robust business strategy.
Story First Published at: https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/air-traffic-controllers-at-lebanons-only-civilian-airport-to-go-on-strike-over-staffing-shortages
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