HAMAT AIR BASE, Lebanon, July 9 (Reuters) – Hit by the collapse of Lebanon’s economic system, the military has began promoting rides on its helicopters to finance their upkeep, a measure of the depth of the monetary troubles dealing with the nation.
“The struggle we’re in is financial and subsequently requires unconventional means … and the thought we had was to do helicopter excursions,” Colonel Hassan Barakat, a military spokesman, stated.
“The price of these journeys secures the important upkeep of the planes.” A 15-minute rides on a military Robinson R44 coaching helicopter prices $150.
Lebanon is affected by what the World Financial institution has described as certainly one of deepest depressions in fashionable historical past. The forex has misplaced greater than 90% of its worth in lower than two years and greater than half the inhabitants has sunk into poverty.
Military commander Normal Joseph Aoun warned final month that the disaster, attributable to a long time of corruption and waste in authorities, would result in the collapse of all state establishments together with the military, noting that the worth of a soldier’s month-to-month wage was now $90.
An enormous recipient of U.S. navy help, the military has underpinned Lebanon’s stability for the reason that finish of the 1975-90 civil struggle. Qatar introduced this week it could present the military with 70 tonnes of meals monthly.
“It is a good expertise for my youngsters to see Lebanon, and the attractive Lebanese coast from the air,” stated Adib Dakkash, 43, visiting from Switzerland.
“I desire to spend $150 in order that military helicopters proceed to function, in order that the pilots and officers proceed to fly, as a substitute of spending it in a restaurant, on meals or meaningless issues.”
Reporting by Issam Abdallah; Writing by Tom Perry; Enhancing by Raissa Kasolowsky
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