BEIRUT: Beirut’s international airport said Thursday it would suspend flights for brief periods on Sept. 14 and Sept. 16 during the visit of Catholic Pope Benedict XVI to the country.
Rafik Hariri International Airport said it would halt air traffic for about two hours on Friday at 1:15 p.m. local time. It said flights would also be suspended Sunday from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. local time.
Pope Benedict will visit Lebanon from Sept. 14 to Sept. 16. The pontiff is scheduled to arrive at the capital’s airport at 1:45 p.m. Friday and leave the country at 7 p.m. Sunday.
The airport directorate has asked airlines to inform their passengers to come at least three hours ahead of their scheduled flight times.
The visit by Pope Benedict XVI will be the first by a Catholic pope in 15 years since the landmark visit of Pope John Paul II to Lebanon in 1997.
Political, social and religious preparations are under way to receive the pope while Lebanese authorities have imposed strict security measures throughout the country.