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| 17 February, 2017

Airport to receive millions of dollars for security upgrade

Foreign passengers (L) walk at Beirut international airport after their flight to Europe was cancelled, April 16, 2010. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

Foreign passengers (L) walk at Beirut international airport after their flight to Europe was cancelled, April 16, 2010. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

17 February 2017

BEIRUT: Beirut’s airport will have new and advanced security screening machines, Public Works and Transport Minister Youssef Fenianos announced Thursday.

“The Cabinet decided to grant the Public Works Ministry LL42 billion ($28 million) for bids for the security equipment at Rafik Hariri International Airport,” Fenianos was quoted as saying in a statement to MTV.

Fenianos said that the new purchases would be part of a renewed push to meet international standards set by ICAO, the U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization.

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Security specialists have requested improved X-ray scanners that can reveal attempts to smuggle contraband, weapons and other prohibited material into the airport, the minister said. “I will do all I can to [ensure] airport security and will not leave it as it is,” he added as he promised that “all tenders will be transparent.”

The minister also revealed that major foreign companies were interested in investing in Lebanon and the airport. “World-renowned companies have shown interest in investing in the airport,” he said.

Aviation safety has been a reoccurring theme at Beirut airport for a number of reasons.

Most recently, reports emerged that gulls near the facility posed a threat to the safety of incoming and outgoing flights. Ultrasonic bird-repelling devices have since been installed to ensure aviation safety.

Airport officials said a total of 40 devices would be installed across the whole airport.

In January 2016, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said France and the United Kingdom were considering canceling flights into the airport over safety concerns, adding that the countries were waiting for the Lebanese government to act to close security gaps at the facility.

The claim was later called “baseless” by airport head Fadi Hasan.

Last June, new measures were also implemented, including limiting the amount of liquids and aerosols permitted in passengers’ hand luggage, following a measure long in place in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.

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