Beirut airport, on two time zones simultaneously!
Passengers flying to or from Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY) should double-check their flight times as the airport currently uses two different local times for its operations.
Pictures and videos of clocks at Lebanon's main airport showing two different times have been shared on social media. At the root of this unusual situation, which affects the whole country and not just the airport, are different points of view between the country's religious communities regarding the transition to daylight saving time on March 26, 2023.
The conflict arose after Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced three days before the scheduled time change that the country would wait until April 21 to implement daylight saving time. Although no reason was given for the decision, the move was seen as a boost to the country's practicing Muslims as it would allow those fasting during Ramadan (which runs from March to April) to break their fast with a hour earlier.
This unexpected decision was contested by leaders of the country's other religious communities who questioned the legality of the decision, claiming that the usual process of obtaining cabinet approval was not followed. Unable to find a compromise, the country is now de facto in two time zones at the same time.
Middle East Airlines (MEA), the national carrier of Lebanon, has announced that all their schedules will be winter, but will switch to summer time on April 21. This change only affects departures and arrivals at Beirut airport, flight schedules remain the same for other international airports served by the airline.