Unrest in Bahrain continues to disrupt operations for local airlines, with the country’s civil aviation authority suspending flights to and from Lebanon.
The ban was reportedly enacted in response to concerns that Shiite group Hizbollah was providing declarations of support for the unrest in Bahrain.
“This decision was taken after the irresponsible comments and stances from Lebanon against Bahrain, its people and leaders,” state-owned Bahrain news agency cited a statement from the Civil Aviation Affairs department as saying.
On Tuesday, Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry warned Bahrainis not to travel to Lebanon for their own safety and said the ban was due to threats and interference.
Lebanon is the third country where Gulf Air and Bahrain Air, the two airlines headquartered in Bahrain, have temporarily suspended services. Last week, the airlines cut routes to Iran and Iraq, two countries also with sizeable Shiite populations.
Safer Majali, the chief executive of Gulf Air, recently said the sectarian unrest, and the postponement of the March Bahrain Grand Prix, has led to a “serious reduction” in bookings for Gulf Air. While it has not been affected by unrest in Tunisia, it has been forced to reduce operations to Egypt during the protests, he told Air Transport Intelligence, a trade magazine.