Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has stressed the government’s determination to reinforce stability and restore confidence in the country’s economy.
In a speech he delivered during the opening ceremony of the “Middle East Training and Conferences Center” at Rafik Hariri International Airport, the PM said: “The name of this airport was linked to Rafik Hariri because it was a focal point of his economic, development and strategic vision for Lebanon.”
The premier said that his slain father considered the international airport “our interface to the world, the first gate for the expatriates whom we want to return to our country, the tourists we want to see in our country and the investors whom we would like to see participating with their money and projects in our economic advancement.”
When Rafik Hariri reconstructed the airport to accommodate 6 million passengers, “people asked: Why 6 million passengers, and where will they come from? The result? Last year this airport received more than 7 and a half million passengers.”
“The number this year will be bigger, because in July and August alone, the airport registered more than two million passengers,” the Lebanese prime minister said in his speech.
He revealed that a project is underway to increase the capacity of 5 million extra passengers in an initial and urgent phase, to be completed in the general guideline that the public works ministry is setting, based on a donation by the Middle East to the Lebanese government.
Hariri lauded Middle East Airlines Chairman Mohammed al Hout, saying that under his tenure the company moved from being a deficit causer for the state to a successful company, flying in the name of Lebanon all over the world.
He said the company, which was losing tens of millions after the civil war, has been transformed to a firm that earns tens of millions a year with accumulated profits that reached under its current management more than one billion dollars.
Hariri also lauded Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, saying he has a brave and patriotic mind.
“I am also proud to announce that the beautiful hall in which we gather today, that was known so far as the DOME, is now called Riad Salameh Hall,” said Hariri.
“The Training and Conferences Center is an investment in developing the knowledge economy in Lebanon and an investment in human resources, which are the first pillar of the Lebanese economy,” the PM stated.
It provides the youth with job opportunities, reinforces the good reputation of the Lebanese pilot, the pilot trainer and MEA, he said.
“Our interest in expanding the airport and the high level of services in it, our interest in MEA and the ability of all Lebanese companies to maintain their leading levels in the region, our determination to achieve vital successes, our determination to reinforce stability, restore confidence, promote our economy, all this stems from one place:
“Our firm belief in Lebanon and its promising future, the capabilities of its people. Rafik Hariri believed in this and gave his life for it. All this has one target: Restore growth and create jobs especially for the Lebanese youth,” he added.