Saturday, September 3, 2016

Lebanese airline files lawsuit against Turkish company over plane incident

BEIRUT: A Lebanese airline whose plane landed in Israel earlier this week filed a lawsuit before the Lebanese judiciary against the Turkish company involved in the incident.

Wings of Lebanon legal representative, Mohammad al-Hajj, told As-Safir newspaper in remarks published Saturday that the company was not "seeking financial compensation [over the lawsuit] because the case [has emotional factors] and harms Lebanon and the company's reputation."

The lawyer told the daily that the Turkish company Tailwind Airlines, which leased the plane to Wings of Lebanon to facilitate charter flights between Beirut and the Turkish city of Antalya, had apologized and vowed to remove the Lebanese company's logo from the plane.

However, Hajj added that the "apology wasn't enough, because the incident harmed the company and the resistance supporters in this country [Lebanon]... which we firmly reject."

Photographs of a plane with the “Wings of Lebanon” logo at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport had been shared on social media platforms Wednesday.

Wings of Lebanon swiftly reacted with surprise and anger, saying that Tailwind Airlines had recently sent the plane back to Turkey for maintenance.

Asked if the Lebanese company would continue to deal with the Turkish airlines, Hajj said that "this is a business decision that the [Lebanese] company's management has to take."

The incident drew the ire of the Lebanese people, with Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt calling on the Lebanese judiciary to indict the agents of Wings of Lebanon. Transport Minister Ghazi Zeaiter also advised the Foreign Ministry to file a legal complaint with Ankara over the incident.

Tailwind Airlines Chief Executive Officer Safi Ergin told Bloomberg that the company had finished the maintenance earlier than expected and used the plane in the remaining time to transport passengers from Turkey to Israel and Germany.


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