Lebanon’s cash-strapped army sells helicopter rides during economic crisis
HAMAT AIR BASE, Lebanon, July 9 (Reuters) – Hit by the collapse of Lebanon’s economy, the army has started selling rides on its helicopters to finance their maintenance, a measure of the depth of the financial troubles facing the country.
“The war we are in is economic and therefore requires unconventional means … and the idea we had was to do helicopter tours,” Colonel Hassan Barakat, an army spokesman, said.
“The cost of these trips secures the essential maintenance of the planes.” A 15-minute rides on an army Robinson R44 training helicopter costs $150.
Lebanon is suffering from what the World Bank has described as one of deepest depressions in modern history. The currency has lost more than 90% of its value in less than two years and more than half the population has sunk into poverty.