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Middle East Airlines – Air Liban S.A.L.
طيران الشرق الأوسط ـ الخطوط الجوية اللبنانية
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded31 May 1945; 78 years ago (1945-05-31)
Commenced operations1 January 1946; 78 years ago (1946-01-01)
HubsBeirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport
Frequent-flyer programCedar Miles
  • Cedar Executive
  • Lebanese Beirut Airport Catering Company (LBACC) (77.5%)
  • Middle East Airlines Ground Handling (MEAG)
  • Middle East Airports Services (MEAS)
  • Mideast Aircraft Services Company (MASCO)
Fleet size24 (22 commercial airliners + 2 private jets)
Parent companyBanque du Liban
HeadquartersBeirut, Lebanon
Key peopleMohammad El Hout (chairman & director general)
ProfitDecrease US$-45,000,000 (2021)[3]
Employees5000+ (MEA, MEAG, MEAS, LBACC, MASCO) (2023)

Middle East Airlines – Air Liban S.A.L. (Arabic: طيران الشرق الأوسط ـ الخطوط الجوية اللبنانية, romanizedṬayyarān al-Sharq al-Awsaṭ – al-Khuṭūṭ al-jawiyyah al-lubnāniyyah), more commonly known as Middle East Airlines (MEA) (Arabic: طيران الشرق الأوسط, romanized: Ṭayyarān al-Sharq al-Awsaṭ), is the flag carrier of Lebanon, with its head office in Beirut,[4] near Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport.[5] It operates scheduled international flights to Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa from its base at Rafic Hariri International Airport.[6]

Middle East Airlines (MEA) is a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance. MEA expressed its interest in becoming a SkyTeam associate member in early 2006 at a press conference in New York.[7] On 28 February 2011, the airline signed the partnership agreement with SkyTeam at a ceremony in Beirut, and officially joined the alliance on 28 June 2012, becoming its 17th member and the second member airline in the Middle East.


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Middle East Airlines" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (December 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
A Middle East Airlines Convair 990A at London Heathrow Airport in 1970
A Middle East Airlines Boeing 747-200 in 1984

Middle East Airlines - Air Liban was founded on 31 May 1945 by Saeb Salam and Fawzi EL-Hoss with operational and technical support from BOAC. Operations started on 1 January 1946 using three de Havilland DH.89A Dragon Rapides on flights between Beirut and Nicosia, followed by flights to Iraq, Egypt, and Syria. Two Douglas DC-3s were acquired in mid-1946. Pan American World Airways acquired a stake and management contract in September 1949.

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.

In 1963 MEA also took over Lebanese International Airways. The fleet was modernised with the addition of three Sud Aviation Caravelles in April 1963, three Boeing 720Bs in January 1966, one leased Vickers VC10 in March 1967, and a number of Boeing 707-320Cs from November 1967.

The current name was adopted in November 1965 when the airline was completely merged with Air Liban. Although operations were interrupted by the 1967 Arab–Israeli war, and by the Israeli raid on Beirut Airport in 1968 - in which the airline lost three Comet 4C's, two Caravelles, a Boeing 707, the Vickers VC10, and the Vickers Viscount[8] - MEA restarted by acquiring a Convair 990A from American Airlines, which entered service on 24 June 1969.

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 due to the Lebanese Civil War between 1975 and 1991 but continued services despite multiple closures of the base at Beirut International Airport. 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.

The airline has introduced self-check-in kiosks at Beirut 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.

In November 2011, MEA's pilots union staged a 48-hour strike after a captain undergoing cancer treatment was dismissed shortly after going on sick leave.[9]

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. 5,000 staff are employed across the airline group. The central bank of Lebanon, Banque du Liban, owns a majority share of 99.50%.[10]


Middle East Airlines flies to 31 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. In addition, Medina is served seasonally, while Mykonos is offered as a seasonal charter destination.[11]

Country City Airport Notes Refs
Armenia Yerevan Zvartnots International Airport [11]
Belgium Brussels Brussels Airport [11]
Cyprus Larnaca Larnaca International Airport [11]
Denmark Copenhagen Copenhagen Airport [11]
Egypt Cairo Cairo International Airport [11]
France Nice Nice Côte d'Azur Airport Seasonal [11]
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport [11]
Germany Düsseldorf Düsseldorf Airport [11]
Frankfurt Frankfurt Airport [11]
Ghana Accra Kotoka International Airport [11]
Greece Athens Athens International Airport [11]
Iraq Baghdad Baghdad International Airport [11]
Basra Basra International Airport [11]
Erbil Erbil International Airport [11]
Najaf Al Najaf International Airport [11]
Italy Milan Milan Malpensa Airport [11]
Rome Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport [11]
Ivory Coast Abidjan Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport [11]
Jordan Amman Queen Alia International Airport [11]
Kuwait Kuwait City Kuwait International Airport [11]
Lebanon Beirut Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport Hub [11]
Nigeria Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport [11]
Qatar Doha Hamad International Airport [11]
Saudi Arabia Dammam King Fahd International Airport [11]
Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport [11]
Medina Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport Seasonal [11]
Riyadh King Khalid International Airport [11]
Spain Madrid Madrid–Barajas Airport [11]
Switzerland Geneva Geneva Airport [11]
Turkey Istanbul Istanbul Airport [11]
United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi International Airport [11]
Dubai Dubai International Airport [11]
United Kingdom London Heathrow Airport [11]

Codeshare agreements

MEA has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[12]

MEA also participates in SNCF's (French National Railways) tgvair program.[16]


Current fleet

A Middle East Airlines - Air Liban A321neo in the new livery at London Heathrow Airport.
A Middle East Airlines - Air Liban Airbus A330-200 taking off at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.
A Middle East Airlines - Air Liban Airbus A320-200 in the SkyTeam livery landing at Geneva Airport.

MEA (excluding Cedar Executive) operates an all-Airbus fleet. As of March 2023, it consists of the following aircraft:[citation needed]

Middle East Airlines - Air Liban's fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
C E Total
Airbus A320-200 9 24 102 126 OD-MRL, currently painted in Retro livery, is the 5,000th Airbus A320 family aircraft built.
Airbus A321neo 9 2 28 132 160 T7-ME3 is the 10,000th Airbus A320 family aircraft built.
Airbus A321XLR 4 150 Launch customer.[17]
Three to be delivered in 2024 and one in 2025.[18]
Airbus A330-200 4 44 200 244
Airbus A330-900 4 42 238 280 Deliveries from 2026 to 2028.[19]
Cedar Executive Fleet
Embraer Legacy 500 2 12 12 OD-CXJ and OD-CXL
Total 24 10

Historic fleet

Fleet development

This section needs expansion with: orders/deliveries and additional citations. You can help by adding to it. (December 2020)

Middle East Airlines - Air Liban firmed up its order for ten Airbus A320neo family aircraft (five A320neo and five A321neo) in January 2013.[20] The order for the A320neo was later converted to five more A321neo aircraft. The first A321neo was delivered on 10 July 2020;[21] the third, delivered 9 October 2020, was the 10,000th A320 family aircraft produced.[22]2 more A321neo aircraft are expected to join the airline's fleet in 2024, summing up the whole A321neo fleet size to 11.

On 12 December 2018, the then-Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, signed an order with engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce Holdings for four Airbus A330-900s.[23] During the 2019 Paris Air Show, the airline became the launch customer for the A321XLR: four XLRs were ordered, intended for use on routes to Africa and Asia.[24]

Cedar Executive, MEA's business jet subsidiary, took delivery of its first Embraer Legacy 500 on 5 January 2016.

Frequent-flyer program

In 2011, Middle East Airlines - Air Liban 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 offer additional benefits, including guaranteed economy seat reservation.[25]

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.[26]


MEA owns the following subsidiaries, which are operated independently:

Founded in January 2016, Cedar Executive is a private jet service based at Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport which operates business flights across Europe and the Middle East, using two Embraer Legacy 500s. Clients have access to a private lounge and chauffeur service to the flight.
Founded in 1999, MEAG is the main ground handling agent at Beirut International Airport, handling nearly 80% of all traffic. MEAG also operates a fixed-base operator called Cedar Jet Center at the General Aviation Terminal.
Founded in 1998, MEAS is responsible for the operation and maintenance of Beirut International Airport. Services range from cleaning of the terminals to de-rubberising the runways.
Founded in 1955, MASCO is the only fully-fledged aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul provider at Beirut International Airport. MASCO is a part 145 EASA-approved MRO with full airframe check capabilities on the Airbus A300, A310, A320, and A330 family aircraft. MASCO is also certified to carry out aircraft painting.

In addition, MEA owns 77.5% of the Lebanese Beirut Airport Catering Company (LBACC), the only catering provider at Beirut International Airport.

Accidents and incidents

An MEA aircraft was destroyed during a confrontation between the Israelis and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1982

See also


  1. ^ Vickers Viscount OD-ACT; Sud Caravelles OD-AEE and OD-AEF; de Havilland Comets OD-ADQ, OD-ADR and OD-ADS; Boeing 707 OD-AFC; and a Ghana Airways Vickers VC10 (9G-ABP) operating for MEA


  1. ^ "Middle East Airlines Joins SkyTeam". SkyTeam. Archived from the original on 2012-06-30.
  2. ^ "MEA - Middle East Airlines on ch-aviation". ch-aviation. Retrieved 2023-12-03.
  3. ^ Kaminski-Morrow, David (24 November 2021). "MEA full-year financial performance hammered by successive calamities".
  4. ^ ""Contact Info". Middle East Airlines. Archived from the original on 2010-10-11. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  5. ^ "إتصل بنا". Middle East Airlines. Archived from the original on 2011-01-03. Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  6. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-10. p. 50.
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  10. ^ "History and Network | About Us | Middle East Airlines". Retrieved 2022-03-28.
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  13. ^ Ltd. 2018, UBM (UK). "Air Europa / MEA expands codeshare routes from June 2018". Routesonline.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ "MEA - Middle East Airlines | Codeshare flight".
  15. ^ "MEA – Inauguration of Code Share Flights between KUWAIT and BEIRUT". MEA. Archived from the original on 2018-03-16.
  16. ^ "SNCF, the first rail partner of MEA" (Press release). MEA. 2 June 2006. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  17. ^ III, Woodrow Bellamy (2022-06-15). "Airbus Completes First A321XLR Test Flight, Targets 2024 Entry into Service". Avionics International. Retrieved 2023-11-11.
  18. ^ Finlay, Mark (2021-11-10). "MEA Wants To Fly To Africa With The Airbus A321XLR". Simple Flying. Retrieved 2023-11-11.
  19. ^ "Our Fleet | About Us | Middle East Airlines". Retrieved 2023-11-11.
  20. ^ "MEA firms up order for ten A320neo Family aircraft". MEA. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  21. ^ "Middle East Airlines (MEA) receives its first Airbus A321neo". Airbus. 10 July 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  22. ^ "Airbus delivers A320 Family MSN10,000 to Middle East Airlines". Airbus. 9 October 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
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  24. ^ "Middle East Airlines orders four Airbus A321XLRs". Airbus. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  25. ^ "Top Tier Privileges". Middle East Airlines. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  26. ^ "How To Earn Miles With Our Partners". MEA. Archived from the original on 2011-12-31.
  27. ^ Accident description for LR-AAN at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2015-1-7.
  28. ^ "OD-ABU Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  29. ^ Accident description for OD-ADB at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2016-7-1.
  30. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  31. ^ "Accident Report MEA Caravelle 17 APR 64". Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on 2000-10-18.
  32. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  33. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 7 October 2009.
  34. ^ "All 82 Die as Lebanese Jet Crashes in Arabian Desert". The New York Times. 2 January 1976. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  35. ^ "Criminal occurrence description". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  36. ^ Accident description for OD-AFL at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2016-7-1.
  37. ^ Accident description for OD-AGQ at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2016-7-1.
  38. ^ "Criminal Occurrence description". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  39. ^ "Accident description: Middle East Airlines – MEA Airbus A321-231 F-OHMP". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 4 January 2017.

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