Lebanon's army fundraises with helicopter rides

Lebanon's economic crisis is forcing the country's institutions to come up with new and original sources of income.

And the army is no exception, offering $150 rides on its helicopters to finance their maintenance.

Army spokesman Colonel Hassan Barakat says they needed to find an innovative way to fundraise.

"This war we are in is economic and therefore it requires unconventional means, because it is an unconventional war, and there is no fighting between armies. And so we had the idea of doing tours with helicopters used for intermediate training and tourism"

He said the cost of the 15 minute flight helps cover essential upkeep of the aircraft.

Barakat also hopes the flights will encourage people to consider joining the armed forces.

And for tourists, it's a rare opportunity to see the country from a new angle.

"It's a nice experience for my children to see Lebanon and the beautiful Lebanese coast from the air."

Lebanon is suffering from what the World Bank has described as one of deepest depressions in modern history.

The currency has lost more than 90% of its value in less than two years and more than half the population has sunk into poverty.

A big recipient of U.S. military support, the army has underpinned Lebanon's stability since the end of the civil war in 1990.

Qatar said this week it would provide the army with 70 tonnes of food per month.

Army commander General Joseph Aoun (ow-n) warned last month that the crisis would lead to the collapse of all state institutions.

The value of a soldier's monthly salary is now $90.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting