Air France asks passengers for cash to refuel plane during stop in Syria

Air France planes are pictured at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport.

The crew of an Air France plane that was re-routed via Damascus on Wednesday asked passengers how much cash they could stump up after Syrian authorities refused credit card payment to refuel the aircraft, the French airline said on Thursday.

Ultimately it found an alternative arrangement, it said.

The plane that was headed for Beirut on Wednesday night was diverted due to civil unrest in the Lebanese capital and sought to go to Amman, but it was forced to land in Syria due to lack of fuel.

Air France stopped its flights to Damascus in March as fighting in the country escalated, and relations between France and Syria have collapsed since Paris demanded that President Bashar al-Assad step down.

“Because of the terrible relations between the two countries and the situation in Syria, the passengers were really worried about landing there,” a friend of one of the passengers, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.

On landing the local airport authorities said they could not accept a credit card payment and would only take cash, an Air France spokeswoman said.

“As a precaution and in anticipation, the crew asked how much money the passengers had in cash to pay to fill up with fuel,” the airline spokeswoman said.

She said the airline was eventually able to pay the bill without taking money from passengers, but she declined to say how it had paid or how much the fuel stop cost.

The plane, which had departed from Paris, took off two hours after landing in Damascus for an overnight stop in Cyprus. It was now due to arrive in Beirut on Thursday evening.

The European Union has imposed a series on sanctions on Syria, including a ban on the Syrian national airline that will prevent the flag carrier landing at EU airports, although it will still be able to fly over EU countries and make emergency stops.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrived in Beirut on Thursday evening as part of a three-day trip to the region to garner support ahead of a ministerial meeting on Syria in August at the United Nations. France currently chairs the U.N. Security Council.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…