Landing of Qatar Airways jet coordinated with Israel; blockade still intact.
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
A Qatar Airways plane landed at Beirut airport on Monday carrying 142 passengers - the first commercial flight from the country to Lebanon since the war. Israel said it gave permission for the flight and more were expected.
The Airbus 320 landed at Rafik Hariri International Airport at 3:20 p.m. local time (1220 GMT) in the first of what the national carrier of Qatar said would be daily commercial flights from Doha to Beirut.
Qatar to send troops to Lebanon
An IDF army spokesman said the Qatar Airways flight was coordinated with Israel, and was the fourth Qatari flight to land with Israeli permission in Beirut since Friday - an apparent reference to past aid flights, as this was the first known regularly scheduled commercial flight from Qatar.
In all, 20 airplanes landed at Beirut airport Monday, the army said, all of them with Israeli permission. Those include commercial flights from Amman that Israel had already previously allowed, plus aid flights.
Qatar Airways did not comment on whether it had sought Israeli clearance, stating only that it had received approval from Lebanese authorities to operate the flights.
The war destroyed large sections of Lebanon's infrastructure, but runways at Beirut's international airport have been repaired.
Since the end of the conflict on Aug. 14 only two airlines, Royal Jordanian Airlines and Middle East Airlines, a Lebanese carrier, have been allowed by Israel to operate limited international flights to and from Beirut through Amman, the Jordanian capital.
Jordan Airlines is operating three flights a day to Beirut, whereas MEA is operating 80 flights a week, down from 130 flights before the war.
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