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

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

10 storylines to watch for the Giants this…

The Giants rebounded from an embarrassing 0-6 start last season, but not well enough to make the playoffs.

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…