The crew of an Air France SA (AF) flight
from Paris to Beirut asked passengers to dig into their wallets
for cash after the aircraft had to make an unplanned fuel stop
in Syria, a destination the airline stopped serving months ago.
The airline diverted the flight yesterday after security at
the Lebanese destination was considered insufficient for a
landing, a spokeswoman for the airline said. The aircraft
touched down in Damascus because it carried insufficient fuel to
make it to Amman in Jordan, which is a regular destination.
Airport service providers in Damascus have stopped
accepting standard forms of payment, as Syria remains mired in a
months-long violent uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
The pilots queried business-class passengers if they could pay
with cash if necessary, before the airline managed to settle the
bill by other means, the spokeswoman said, without elaborating.
After refueling, the flight headed to Larnaca in Cyprus,
where passengers spent the night before continuing the next day
to Beirut, where the situation had stabilized, according to the
company. Air France, a unit of Air France-KLM Group, suspended
service to Damascus in March.
To contact the reporters on this story:
Andrea Rothman in Toulouse, France at
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Benedikt Kammel at