Dubai/Abu Dhabi: With the political turmoil in Lebanon taking a turn for the worse, Lebanese expatriates have said that it is upsetting for them to watch, read and hear about road blockades, burning tyres and the closure of highways and Beirut airport.
The information desk at both Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports were flooded with enquiries from Lebanese expatriates on flight schedules and cancellations in and out of Beirut.
The electronic board displayed at Dubai International Airport showed two incoming flights from Beirut - EK958 scheduled at 3pm, and WY686 Oman Air, scheduled at 8.45pm - as cancelled.
An outgoing flight to Beirut, WY685 scheduled to depart at 3.45pm, was also cancelled.
However some flights were on schedule.
"We have ME428 flight from Beirut arriving in Dubai at 7.50pm and a J9 419 which is scheduled to arrive at 9.40pm," said the information desk at Dubai International airport.
When Gulf News contacted Abu Dhabi Airport Company (ADAC), Andrew Jones, Head of Communications, confirmed that there were no plans to cancel any flights coming from Lebanon and they did not suspect any delays.
Two airlines currently fly between Lebanon and Abu Dhabi; namely Middle East Airlines (MEA) five times a week, and Etihad Airways seven times a week. ADAC confirmed that Beirut had closed its airport yesterday from 9am to 3pm Beirut time.
The first flight due to arrive in Abu Dhabi through MEA was due to leave at 4.30pm Beirut time, (5.30pm UAE time) an hour and a half after the airport was due to open in Beirut.
"At this particular time we are not anticipating delays from either airline since the departure and arrival timings are operating outside the times when the airport was closed in Beirut. We cannot however confirm delays, only routes and airlines; this is ultimately the airline's decision, not ours," said Jones.
Etihad Airlines told Gulf News that there would be no delays for any of their flights. A flight took off at 1.05am from Abu Dhabi airport and arrived seven minutes late at Beirut. Another flight is scheduled to leave Abu Dhabi after midnight and is expected to arrive in Beirut on time.
A source from MEA said: "We have nothing to report whatsoever; our branch in Beirut has not reported anything to us until this moment."
Mona Faud, a Lebanese expatriate said: "When I see images of burning tyres and anti-government protests taking place in my country I am embarrassed. This state of insecurity and instability has been prevalent in the country since the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the country has been ripped into two. The political parties are taking advantage of the labour strike. They are using the labour strike as a weapon to point an accusing finger at each other."
Hesham, an economics student, said that his brother was supposed to join him but had now postponed his trip to Dubai as flights to and from Beirut had been cancelled.
"I just hope that good sense prevails and the situation returns to normal soon.
"The political parties in Lebanon should understand that they are ripping the country apart and taking it to the brink of large-scale unrest. Peace can be achieved but the question is whether the political parties are willing to sit at the table and hammer out their differences."
Do you know anyone who has been affected by the current crisis? What happened? Have they been able to contact their family and friends in Lebanon?