Sydney: Passengers on Air France, who were on a flight that was diverted from Beirut and landed instead in Damascus, were asked to chip in money and help pay for refuelling the plane.
“We went down in Syria where there were lots of soldiers ... We thought there were some problems and that there was no money to pay for the fuel,” News.com.au quoted Najib, who was a passenger on the flight, as saying.
“They asked if the passengers could contribute for the refuelling,” he added.
Najib claimed that the flight from Paris was diverted to Damascus because of tensions in Beirut and then flew on to Larnaca.
“There were some negotiations going on to buy fuel because Air France doesn’t fly to Damascus at the moment,” another passenger said.
The plane, a Boeing 777, was carrying 174 passengers and 11 crew and flew to Larnaca after it made a two-hour stop for the refuelling.
According to an Air France employee, who declined to be named, the crew at first offered to pay for the fuel in Damascus with a credit card but the transaction was impossible because of financial sanctions, which have been slapped on Syria. However, he did not specify how the payment was finally arranged, the report said.
France has suspended flights to Damascus since March because of the deadly unrest sweeping Syria, it added.