Lebanon's pilots end five-day strike

2011-12-04 12:04

Beirut - Pilots of Lebanese national carrier Middle East Airlines (MEA) have ended a five-day strike in protest at the dismissal of a cancer-stricken colleague.

Numerous flights at Beirut's airport were affected.

Captain Fadi Khalil, head of the pilots' union, said normal scheduling would be resumed on Sunday.

"Out of concern for our company and Lebanon's tourism sector, and out of respect for our passengers, we announce the suspension of our strike," Khalil said at a news conference, adding that the strike was "in principle over."

He said the decision came after the MEA administration agreed to pay striking pilots full salaries for the month and revoked its threat to dismiss them.

The pilots had been due to end their initially 48-hour strike on Wednesday evening but prolonged the action after the company withdrew five days worth of wages and sent a warning letter to each striking pilot threatening dismissal.

The strike was announced on Monday after an MEA captain who had served the airline for 38 years was laid off as soon as he went on sick leave to undergo treatment for cancer.

The company has since come to a fair agreement with the captain, Khalil said.