Middle East Airlines A320 Hit By Bullet In Beirut

Middle East Airlines A320 Hit By Bullet In Beirut

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As noted by The Aviation Herald, an Airbus A320 was hit by a bullet while landing today, but it probably wasn’t intentional (which… is almost more concerning?).

Airbus A320 landing in Beirut hit by bullet

This incident happened today (Thursday, November 10, 2022), on Middle East Airlines (MEA) flight ME311 from Amman (AMM) to Beirut (BEY). The flight was operated by a roughly 11-year-old Airbus A320 with the registration code OD-MRM.

The plane was finishing up a routine 147-mile, 40-minute flight, and was on final approach to Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport. Out of nowhere, the plane was hit by a bullet, which pierced the top right forward part of the fuselage. Fortunately there were no injuries, though a Lebanese lawmaker was in seat 2F, and reports that the bullet entered the fuselage above her head.

Bullet hole in MEA A320 cabin
Bullet hole in MEA A320 cabin

As you’d expect, the plane has been taken out of service, and it will likely take some time to repair this.

Planes are frequently hit by bullets in Beirut

Logically most people would probably wonder if this was intentional, and was an act of terrorism. After all, shooting an aircraft fuselage poses a risk to the lives of others.

While a full investigation hasn’t yet been performed, it’s more likely than not that this wasn’t intentional. On average, seven to eight parked planes are hit by stray bullets each year at Beirut Airport. That’s because celebratory gunfire is a common occurrence in Lebanon, as guns are often fired to mark speeches by politicians, to release official exam results, and more.

While MEA seems to just accept this as a thing that happens, earlier this year Aegean Airlines suspended flights to Beirut after one of its planes got struck by a bullet while parked at the airport overnight.

Today’s incident was the first time that an MEA plane was hit by a bullet while in the air. MEA’s CEO is now looking to find ways to curb celebratory gunfire in Lebanon, especially around the airport, given the risk it poses to planes.

Bottom line

A Middle East Airlines A320 was hit by a bullet while landing in Beirut today. While an average of seven or eight planes per year are struck by bullets at the airport, this event was noteworthy because the plane was airborne.

Fortunately no one was injured. If guns are going to be used so widely in Lebanon, you’d think people could at least be a little more careful around a major airport.

What do you make of this MEA A320 bullet incident?

Conversations (17)
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  1. Chad Guest

    Obviously the solution is to arm the planes, otherwise it’s just bad guys that have guns

  2. snic Guest

    Shoot your gun in the air to celebrate, but at least load it with blanks. What kind of moron shoots bullets around to celebrate?

  3. Stuart Guest

    Well, perhaps better than in 'Merica where guns seem to routinely go off in schools.

  4. Pierre Gold

    What else is new?
    It happened at least to 2 Caravelles and 1 B707. This is why the whole MEA fleet at the time of the civil war was kept at Orly airport. I worked at Air Inter at the time and they were right under my office window,

  5. AA70 Diamond

    Will we ever get your MEA a330 business class review beyond the first impressions?

    1. Brandon Biden Guest

      Happened to MEA last year too, its a cultural thing, shooting AK's into air.

  6. WB Guest

    This is an issue in many Middle Eastern and African countries where gunfire is often used for celebratory events. Any bullet that is shot up must eventually come down, and that poses a serious risk to everyone. It isn't uncommon to hear reports of people being seriously injured or killed from stray bullets. Having spent time in certain countries where this takes place, I would sometimes hear gunfire in the middle of the night. It...

    This is an issue in many Middle Eastern and African countries where gunfire is often used for celebratory events. Any bullet that is shot up must eventually come down, and that poses a serious risk to everyone. It isn't uncommon to hear reports of people being seriously injured or killed from stray bullets. Having spent time in certain countries where this takes place, I would sometimes hear gunfire in the middle of the night. It would scare me at first because terrorism was a risk in these countries and I wouldn't know if there was an attack or celebration going on.

    1. dwl-sdca Guest

      This is not limited to “ Middle Eastern and African countries”. Celebratory gunfire is quite common where hand guns and long guns are common. A search of the SafetyLit literature database returned more that 60 journal articles on the topic. (SafetyLit is a free service that is presented without advertising.) If the search also includes “stray bullets” even more articles are found.

  7. Leo Liang Guest

    Was this a terrorist attempt or purley coincidence?

  8. Ron Guest

    A stray bullet entering the aircraft from the roof! How's that even possible??

    1. Brad Guest

      Ron, bullets go up and come down with remarkable velocity. My neighborhood in Florida is a nightmare 4th of July and New Years Eve from bullets falling back to earth.

    2. JB Guest

      The bullet was likely falling back to the ground. That's the problem with celebratory gunfire, it is shot up in the air, but the bullet has to come down eventually, and that poses a threat to anyone. I've had a bullet land right next to me from the sky in Pakistan while I was sitting in a chair in the lawn of a house. There was a wedding going on nearby. Had I been sitting...

      The bullet was likely falling back to the ground. That's the problem with celebratory gunfire, it is shot up in the air, but the bullet has to come down eventually, and that poses a threat to anyone. I've had a bullet land right next to me from the sky in Pakistan while I was sitting in a chair in the lawn of a house. There was a wedding going on nearby. Had I been sitting 2 feet to the left, it would have hit me. Injuries are unfortunately very common in some countries from this.

    3. Petri Diamond

      I know the feeling, got two holes on my car while in Baghdad.

    4. Rico Gold

      Ron, what goes up, must come down.

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snic Guest

Shoot your gun in the air to celebrate, but at least load it with blanks. What kind of moron shoots bullets around to celebrate?

3
Chad Guest

Obviously the solution is to arm the planes, otherwise it’s just bad guys that have guns

2
Lune Gold

Gun owners...

1
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