Due to the persistent cross-border hostilities and tensions on the Israel - Lebanon border, the operating environment in Lebanon is highly unstable. As infrastructure within Lebanon remains fragile following an extended economic crisis compounded by the recent pandemic, any disruption of essential services could generate significant strain on the public sector. This includes the transport, logistics, and healthcare sectors. Although the current hostilities are limited to the border areas, there is a credible concern over the unclear trajectory of the border tensions and the related risk of violence spilling over to the rest of Lebanon. That scenario would severely restrict the already limited outbound commercial travel options.
Therefore, our latest advice to organisations is to defer all travel to Lebanon and to evacuate all staff while commercial aviation options remain available. Access our latest Assistance Overview on Lebanon.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have received communications from International SOS to evacuate. Should I evacuate from the country?
Yes. We advise all foreign nationals and business travellers currently in Lebanon to depart using the available commercial air travel options.
Security Managers should direct their staff or arrange for their staff to leave the country whilst commercial aviation options through Beirut Rafic Harari International Airport are still available.
I am in Lebanon right now, what are safe options for me to leave? What should I be aware of?
Beirut Rafic Harari International Airport is currently operational and conducting commercial flights to a number of international destinations. Given that several foreign embassies have now issued directives for their citizens to depart Lebanon, there will be an increased demand to acquire tickets for flights.
Regarding access to Beirut Rafic Harari International Airport, there are currently no additional security concerns en route to the airport. People can make use of ground transport provided by their hotel, dedicated transport providers, local contacts, or can also contact International SOS for secure transport support.
Congestion en route to the airport is likely to be high in the coming days. Further, waiting times for checking-in and passing through security at Beirut Rafic Harari International Airport are likely to be extensive. Account for this to ensure you arrive for your flight on time.
As a matter of standard contingency, it is also advisable to have measures in place to support any potential stand fast period.
Am I safe in Beirut / Sidon / Tripoli?
Currently, yes. However, the situation has the potential to change quickly, without warning.
In the event of an escalation, it is very likely that Beirut Rafic Harari International Airport operations would be impacted – either due to the closure of airspace or due to the airport ceasing operations which would leave two other options: standing fast or maritime evacuation to the Republic of Cyprus or the Republic of Türkiye.
Any individuals in Lebanon would need to have Schengen visas to enter Cyprus (EU) or have a nationality that is permitted to enter Cyprus without a visa. Advance visas to access Türkiye may also be required, depending on nationality.
Can International SOS support evacuations from Lebanon?
Yes. International SOS can support clients with secure movement to Ports of Departure – Beirut Rafic Harari International Airport, Dbayeh, Jounieh or additional ports with a variety of vehicles, support vehicles, drivers, and Close Protection Officers.
If an International SOS aviation private charter is activated during an escalation, this will require the airspace to be open. If the airspace is closed it is very unlikely that the air charter option will proceed. Using an air charter would also involve the private carrier acquiring war insurance to conduct flights. We will always, on a best effort basis, endeavour to provide practical solutions to our clients.
International SOS can also source maritime vessels, if required, to sail to regional safe havens. However, feasibility of passage of vessel will be based on the security situation, whether there are any blockades in place, and if international waters are navigable.
Can International SOS provide medical support?
Yes, International SOS maintains medical assistance capability in Lebanon which includes the provision of medical advice, medical referrals, coordination and monitoring of medical treatment, as well as offering mental health and emotional support services. Our Network Services team is in regular contact with our key medical providers to ensure up to date information on their medical capability.
Are Medical evacuations possible?
Yes, medical evacuation remains feasible. This capability will be in line with the airspace and airport operational considerations at the time of any request.