Task Force ITALAIR, in Lebanon for 40 years flying for peace
The "ITALAIR" Task Force, the Italian helicopter component deployed with UNIFIL in south Lebanon, is marking today 40 years of uninterrupted presence in Lebanon.
The unit is composed of 6 AB 212 twin-turbine helicopters, with day and night instrument flight capability, a self-protection system and an estimated flight range of almost 2 hours. From 3 July 1979, "ITALAIR" has completed approximately 42,100 flight hours, transported 171,000 passengers, carried out 1,250 medical evacuations for a total of 48,400 flight missions.
To celebrate its forty-year anniversary, a ceremony was organized at the ancient Hippodrome of Tyre, with the participation of the main local authorities, the Italian ambassador to Lebanon, Massimo Marotti, UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col.
39 officers and non-commissioned officers came from Italy (no longer in active service) to be part of this event. The 39 officers have served with ITALAIR over the years and some of them, several times.
During its presence in Lebanon, ITALAIR had a tragic flight accident on 6 August 1997, in which 3 crew members and 2 transported lost their lives.