The straight line distance between Beirut and Damascus is just around 80 kilometers.
However, Damascus Airport is very far from the city towards about 30 kilometers southeast of the city, so the straight line distance from Beirut airport and Damascus Airport is actually 105 kilometers.
That is still very close of course.
Take a look at this map which labels both the the cities of Beirut and Damascus and their airports:
Fifth freedom rights allows an airline to sell seats between intermediate segments.
For example, the upcoming BEG
service. JAT got 5th freedom rights for the KWI-DXB
segment which means they can sell seats on KWI-DXB
If they were not granted 5th freedom rights, it means they would not be allowed to sell seats on KWI-DXB
Getting back on the issue of Beirut...
There are many Eastern European carriers that serve Beirut, Aeroflot and Czech Airlines being the largest.
All of the Eastern European airlines serving Beirut operate the service not combined with another destination except
JAT and Hemus Air.
Aeroflot is right now 3x weekly Airbus A319-100 service from Moscow. However with the start of the spring schedule, they will be permanently upgrading it to 4x weekly A320-200 service. For the summer season it will operate daily A320-200 service.
Czech Airlines operates 3x weekly B737-400 service from Prague. In the summer, it gradually increases to 4x weekly, then to 5x weekly, and then to 6x weekly, then goes back down to 5x weekly, then back down to 4x weekly, and then finally down to 3x weekly again. All on B737-400s.
Malev Hungarian Airlines operates 2x weekly service from Budapest throughout the year on F70s, B737-600s, and B737-700s depending on demand. In the summer, it operates 4x weekly on a mix of B737-700s and B737-800s.
TAROM Romanian Air Transport operates 2x weekly B737-300 service from Bucharest going up to 3x weekly B737-300 service in the summer. Until about a year ago, the service continued onward to Amman, but because of high demand for Beirut, they decided to make the flight terminate in Beirut. The Amman service is now linked with Cairo service.
LOT Polish Airlines operates Beirut service from Warsaw between the end of March to the end of October, so no winter service. It operates 1x weekly B737-500 service going up to 2x weekly B737-500 service in the summer season.
Air operates 2x weekly DC-9-51 service from Kiev year-round.
Hemus Air operates 1x weekly B737-300 service from Sofia. Last summer the service went up to 2x weekly, I don't know if they will do that again this summer. Hemus Air's Beirut service continues to Dubai like JAT's Beirut service does right now. Interestingly, Hemus Air does not have any B737-300s, so they have Bulgaria Air operate the route for them.
Air Slovakia for the past two summers (summer seasonal only) has been operating service to Beirut from Bratislava. In summer 2003 it operated 2x weekly B737-200 service continuing to Kuwait. In summer 2004, it only operated 1x weekly B737-200 service continuing to Kuwait. I don't think they ever brought their B757-200. I don't know if they are planning on operating Beirut again this summer though.
While I don't think Armenia isn't really considered Eastern Europe (it's usually refered to as part of Caucusus Europe), Armavia operates 1x weekly A320-200 service from Yerevan year-round.
While Turkey is not Eastern Europe, Turkish Airlines is doubling Beirut service from 3x weekly B737-800 service from Istanbul to 6x weekly B737-800 service at the end of March. This is a permanent increase.
While Greece is not Eastern Europe either, Olympic Airlines operates 4x weekly B737-300 service from Athens. In the summer season, it increases to 5x weekly B737-400.
While Cyprus is not Eastern Europe either, Cyprus Airways operates daily A320-200 service from Larnaca. In the summer season, they add 3 extra flights a week increasing the service to 10x weekly.
So there is quite a bit of Eastern Europe service to Beirut which may be the reason why JAT is not doing very well.
So JAT will become 2x weekly B737-300 service operating as a triangle route, BEG
Although I have to say, it's interesting that Tarom is doing very well, but JAT is not (if they indeed are not doing very well). You'd expect the opposite...
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran