Syrian Air is expanding its route map with a new Aleppo-Beirut service. The route will operate once a week on Fridays in both directions. Syrian Air primarily flies to a few routes in the Middle East, and one in Europe, due to ongoing EU and US sanctions.
According to Asharq Al-Awsat online, Syrian Air will begin operating the route from next week. The Aleppo-Beirut route will operate once a week only, flying in and out on Friday itself. The outbound from Beirut will depart at 12:05 AM, arriving in Aleppo at 01:05 AM local time. The return leg will leave Aleppo at 02:05 AM and reach Beirut at 03:05 AM the same night.
While the airline hasn’t announced which aircraft will be deployed on the route, we could guess that it would be one of six A320s operated by Syrian Air. According to data from Planespotters.net, the airline currently has two A320-200s in service, while four remain parked up.
The A320 fleet is over 20 years old, having been delivered in 1998 and 1999. These aircraft come with 151 seats, with seven in business and 144 seats in economy class.
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Considering the political and military situation in Syria, Syrian Air has a relatively small footprint as its flag carrier. The airline flies to countries like the UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah), Qatar (Doha), Russia (Moscow), Egypt (Cairo), and more Middle East destinations. Syrian Air only flies to one European destination, Yerevan in Armenia.
While the airline previously flew to many European destinations, that came to an end with US and European Union sanctions in 2012. Being a state-owned airline, Syrian Air could no longer fly to the EU or buy European aircraft and parts. This meant the airline has been unable to purchase any new Airbus or Boeing aircraft in the last decade.
This likely has been a problem for Syrian Air since it operates an all-Airbus fleet of A320s and A340s along with two ATR 72s. The airline’s long-haul A340s (which it uses for longer services to Russia) are also over 20 years old. Despite the constraints, Syrian Air has found a possible way to expand its fleet.
According to reports from CH-Aviation, Syrian Air was considering an order for 15 to 20 Russian-made Irkut MC-21-300. The aircraft is meant to be Russia’s response to the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320, featuring a new design and homemade engines. For airlines in countries like Syria and Iran that are barred from purchased US and EU goods, this plane represents an alternative.
Syrian Air is yet to confirm an order for the MC-21-300 and could start receiving deliveries in 2022. For now, the airline will likely remain slow to expand due to the prevailing political and health situation.
What do you think about Syrian Air’s new route? Let us know in the comments!