Get Middle East Airlines essential facts below. View Videos or join the Middle East Airlines discussion. Add Middle East Airlines to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Middle East Airlines (MEA) is a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance, the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The airline expressed its interest in becoming a SkyTeam associate member in early 2006 at a press conference in New York.
On 28 February 2011, MEA officially signed the partnership agreement with SkyTeam in an official ceremony in Beirut. On 28 June 2012, MEA officially joined SkyTeam to become its 17th member, as well as its second member airline in the Middle East.
Pan Am was replaced when BOAC acquired 49% of MEA's shares in 1955. A Vickers Viscount was introduced in October 1955 while an Avro York cargo aircraft was leased in June 1957. On 15 December 1960 the first of four de Havilland Comet 4Cs arrived. After the association with BOAC ended on 16 August 1961, MEA was merged with Air Liban on 7 June 1963, which gave Air France a 30% holding, since relinquished. The full title was then Middle East Airlines - Air Liban.
A Boeing 747-200B entered service in June 1975 on the Beirut-London route, and later on the Beirut-Paris-New York route from April 1983 until mid-1985. MEA had to adjust its operations to the realities of war in Lebanon between 1975 and 1991 and despite multiple closures of the base at Beirut International Airport, was able to continue operating against all odds. Airbus A310-300s were acquired in 1993 and 1994, followed by an A321-200 in 1997 and the A330-200 (which replaced the A310s) in 2003.
On 28 June 2012, Middle East Airlines joined the SkyTeam alliance to become its 17th member and the second in the Middle East following Saudia.
The airline has introduced self-check-in kiosks at Beirut's international airport as of July 2010. The airline is also planning on launching the Arabesk Airline Alliance with six other Arab carriers. Their future plans include floating about 25% of their shares on the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE) as part of a long-term plan to fully privatize the airline.
A majority of the airline is 99.50% owned by the central bank of Lebanon (Banque du Liban) and employs around 5,000 staff group-wide (as of February 2009). In November 2011, the chairman unlawfully terminated the a pilot who had cancer. This has forced the pilot union to go on strike as of 29 November 2011.
During an interview in March 2007 with MEA, Chairman Mr. Mohamad El-Hout indicated that the airline had three Airbus A330s and four Airbus A319s (later converted to A320s) on order and that the airline would start taking delivery of the first aircraft in May 2007, another in 2009, and the last three in 2010.
On 27 June 2007, MEA announced it would be taking a $60,000,000 loan from the Lebanese bank Fransabank to purchase two Airbus A320s. The loan would be repaid over a 10-year period.
In early October 2007, MEA announced a modified livery for its fleet as well as an increase of its A320 order from four to six aircraft.
In November 2009, MEA placed an order for an Airbus A319 with delivery expected late 2010 to early 2011, but this was later converted to another A320 order.
In 2012, MEA confirmed an order for five Airbus A320neos (later converted to A321neos) and five Airbus A321neos along with eight options. All aircraft will be equipped with Wi-Fi. The first aircraft was delivered in July 2020.
MEA received its eleventh Airbus A320-200 on 2 October 2013, painted in a SkyTeam livery.
On 5 January 2016, the MEA Group took delivery of an Embraer Legacy 500 business jet, to be operated by Cedar Executive, a Middle East Airlines subsidiary.
On 28 December 2016, the airline revealed the purchase of an additional Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
On 28 June 2017, the MEA group took delivery of a second Embraer Legacy 500 to be operated by Cedar Executive, a Middle East Airlines subsidiary.
On 12 December 2018, MEA Chairman Mohamad El Hout signed an agreement with Rolls Royce, the sole engine supplier of the Airbus A330neo opting for 4 aircraft of the Airbus A330-900neo variant.
On 17 June 2019, during Paris Air Show, Middle East Airlines signed a firm order for four Airbus A321XLR, making it the launch customer of the aircraft type.
On 10 July 2020, Middle East Airlines took delivery of its first Airbus A321neo aircraft, equipped with a modern inflight entertainment system as well as Wi-Fi connectivity. The airline will gradually phase out older A320 aircraft as more A321neos are delivered.
On 9 October 2020, Middle East Airlines took delivery of its third Airbus A321neo with manufacturer serial number 10,000.
In 2011, Middle East Airlines changed its frequent-flyer program to a 4-tier program- Blue Cedar, Silver Cedar, Golden Cedar, and President's Club, respectively- in preparation for joining the SkyTeam airline alliance. Silver Cedar, Golden Cedar, and President's Club members gain numerous benefits such as access to the Cedar Lounge at Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport, as well as outstation lounges at all MEA destinations. Golden Cedar and President's Club also include guaranteed seat reservation in economy as well as other extra benefits.
Cedar Miles can be earned and redeemed on all MEA flights and on all flights operated by Air France, KLM, and Qatar Airways, as well as codeshare partners on certain routes. Cedar Miles can also be earned during stays at all Rotana Hotels and all Hertz car rentals worldwide.
MEA owns the following subsidiaries, which are operated independently
Founded in 1955, MASCO is the only fully fledged aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul provider at Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport. MASCO is a part 145 EASA-approved MRO with full airframe check capabilities on the AirbusA300, A310, A320, and A330 family aircraft. In addition, MASCO is certified to performing painting on all types of aircraft.
In addition to the four wholly owned subsidiaries above, MEA owns 77.5% of the Lebanese Beirut Airport Catering Company (LBACC) which is the only catering provider at Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport with a production capacity of 20,000 meals per day.
On 24 July 1950, an Air Liban Douglas DC-3, registration LR-AAN was shot at by an Israeli Spitfire fighter; the DC-3 landed safely at Beirut Airport, but 3 passengers (of 28 on board) were killed in the attack.
On 6 January 1952, Air Liban SNCASE Languedoc OD-ABU crashed on take-off from Beirut Airport, and was consequently destroyed by fire. All nine passengers and crew on board survived. The aircraft was operating a scheduled international passenger flight from Beirut to Kuwait Airport, Kuwait.
On 29 September 1958, Middle East Airlines Avro York OD-ADB disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea with five on board.
On 1 January 1976, Flight 438, operated by Boeing 720B OD-AFT broke up in mid-air after a bomb was allegedly placed in the forward cargo compartment exploded. All 81 people on board were killed, many were already hoping to find a better life away from the ongoing Lebanese Civil War.  The aircraft crashed near Al Qaysumah, Saudi Arabia.
On 12 June 1982, in response to the attempted assassination by the Abu Nidal Group of the Israeli ambassador to Britain, the Israeli army attacked the airport in Beirut, destroying Middle East Airlines Boeing 720-023B OD-AFP. Four days later, four more aircraft (three 720s and one 707) were destroyed in a second attack. On 1 August 1982, a 14-hour non-stop bombing raid on Beirut destroyed Boeing 720-047B OD-AGG.
On 21 August 1985, two MEA Boeing 720's (OD-AFL and OD-AGQ) were destroyed by shelling at Beirut International Airport.