Air France requests passenger money after Damascus emergency stop

by Emily DUNBAR on August 17, 2012

Passengers aboard an Air France flight were shockingly asked to contribute for a refuel by chipping in cash, after their plane had to make a forced landing in the war-torn Syrian capital Damascus – as confirmed by the French flagship carrier.

The plane was due to land in the Lebanese capital Beirut on Wednesday evening but had to be diverted as a result of violent demonstrations that were ongoing near the airport. The plane’s captain first announced that a landing would be made in Amman, Jordan however a lack of fuel meant that he had to divert to Syria – which is where rebels continue to fight as they attempt to oust President Bashar Assad and his dictatorial regime.

Thankfully, emergency permission was granted and the plane was able to make a safe landing in Damascus, which is located around 50 miles from Beirut. The crew told all 174 passengers on board that an Air France company credit card couldn’t be used to refuel the aircraft due to financial sanctions that the West has imposed on Syria, which is why the mostly French and Lebanese passengers aboard were asked to contribute to the purchase of several thousand litres of kerosene required to arrive in Larnaca, Cyrpus – the nearest airport in a safe environment.

According to May Bsat, a Lebanese flier, the pilot asked first class passengers to contribute before crew made their way around the plane and requested that other fliers paid their way. In total, the equivalent of £11,000 was raised.

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