Lebanon’s navy offers vacationers helicopter rides to lift money

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Lebanon is within the midst of one of many deepest depressions in fashionable historical past based on the World Bank. Hyperinflation has seen the Lebanese pound lose greater than 90 p.c of its worth in lower than two years and greater than half of the inhabitants has sunk into poverty.

The capital Beirut is now the third-most costly metropolis on the earth, based on the 2021 Mercer Cost of Living Survey.

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Amid this financial meltdown, the nation’s individuals and establishments have been compelled to improvise new and unconventional methods of producing additional revenue. The struggling military has began providing helicopter excursions to vacationers in a bid to spice up morale and lift must-needed money for upkeep.

Both vacationers and Lebanese residents can join 15-minute rides on the navy’s web site, billed as a method to see “Lebanon … from above”. Tours on the R44 Robinson “Raven” helicopters – often reserved for pupil pilots of their first yr of coaching – depart from each Rayak and Amchit airbases, and provide scenic views.

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It is especially telling that the military has resorted to moonlighting as tour guides, provided that the navy has underpinned Lebanon’s stability for the reason that finish of the civil conflict in 1990. Despite important US navy help, the financial disaster has made it arduous for the military to keep up its funds for gear, upkeep and provides.

Last month, Army Commander General Joseph Aoun warned that the financial disaster – partly attributable to a long time of presidency corruption and profligacy – would quickly result in the breakdown of all state establishments, together with the military.

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Lebanon was and not using a functioning authorities for 13 months following the large explosion at Beirut’s port in August 2020 – which killed greater than 200 individuals and destroyed massive swathes of town – till a brand new cupboard was lastly fashioned final week.

Foreign foreign money money reserves have plummeted, inflicting gasoline, electrical energy and drugs shortages.

In the meantime, the Lebanese navy is aiming for about 1,000 hours of leisure flights this yr. Each journey will value $150, that means the programme may web the navy $300,000 by the top of the yr.

A Lebanese soldier now earns simply $90 a month – down from almost $850 earlier than the disaster.

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