A CEDAR IN THE AIR
The millenia-old Tree is LEBANON’s National emblem and MEA has been carrying the Cedar Tree as a logo on its empennage since it began operating in 1946
MEA has weathered many changes and difficulties and survived like the Cedar Tree . A history of endurance and prosperity from Lebanon to the world
CHAIRMEN OF MEA
• Saeb Salam
• Najib Alameddine
• Assad Nasr
• Salim Salam
• Abed El Hamid Fakhoury
• Khaled Salam
• Mohamad El Hout
SAEB SALAM FOUNDER OF MEA 1945- 1956
• Founder of MEA in 31 May 1945• Operational and Technical support from BOAC.
• 1946 : 1 flight 14 January , Beirut / Nicosia on the “ DE HAVILLAND DH 89 DRAGON RAPID.
• Mid 1946 :Flights to Iraq / Egypt / Syria
• 1949 : PAN AM acquired 36% of MEA
• 1955 : BOAC replaced PAN AM , in october MEA flies Vickers Viscount to Europe / Pakistan / India.
1956 – 1977• 1960 : 15 of December, the first of four DE HAVILLAND COMET 4CS delivered.
• 1961 :Facilities of MASCO purchased by MEA and New Information Center.
• 1962 : MEA is financially independent and fully Lebanese owned company
• 1963 : MEA merged with Air Liban . Air France associate of Air Liban aquired 30% of MEA shares. A NEW TITLE
MIDDLE EAST AIRLINES – AIR LIBAN• 1963 : Three caravelle added to the fleet
MEA flies to West Africa
First fatal accident in the First of February , a Vickers Viscount was involved in a mid- air collision with Turkish air force C- 47. they crashed in Ankara ; 14 killed on MEA, 3 on C- 47 and 87 on the ground . It was Turkish air force mistake.
• 1964 :one sud aviation caravelle3 crashed into the sea 4 mn off shore on approach to Dhahran Airport ; 49 killed including 7 crew.• 1967 : One Vickers VC 10 in March• 1968 : the first 3 Boeing 707-300 were added to the fleet in November .• 1968: During the Israeli Arab war the Israeli Raid over Beirut Airport destroyed 8 of MEA’s 13 Aircraft .
• 1969 : MEA acquired LIA’S traffic rights. MEA the only passengers Airlines in Lebanon
• 1973 : 5% of shares to Employees
• 1973 : in August one caravelle flying on charter to Baghdad on behalf of Iraqi Airways was hijacked.1975 : Boeig 747-200B were introduced. same year the civil war started and despite multiple closure of Beirut Airport , MEA was able to continue operating against all odds.• 1976 : 1th January flight Beirut/ Dubai , in Saudi Arabia ( Al Qaysamah ), a Boeing 720B-023B broke up at FL 370 and crashed in the desert. 67 passengers, 15 crew were killed. The reason a detonation of an explosive device in the forward cargo compartment of the Aircraft.
ASSAD NASR 1977 – 1982• 1977 : MEA leased part of its Boeing 747 fleet to Saudia
• 1980 : Decision to introduce Airbus .• 1982 : Beirut Airport closed , 12 of MEA ‘s planes were destroyed , 7 planes in the Israeli invasion
The company survived by wet leasing , operating charter flights , sometimes alternate bases such as Cyprus
SALIM SALAM 1982 – 1992• 1982 : Beirut Airport remained closed until september due to the Israeli invasion. The Company remained depend on the wet leasing , charter flights to overcome the crisis
• 1983 : First of March : New York flight. Order to purchase 5 Airbus 310.
• 1985 : Inauguration of B747 Hangars .
Bangkok ,Manilla on behalf of Gulf Air /747.
MEA leases B747 to UTA , Egypt Air .
B707 leased to Olympic Airways.
Same year ,Flight to New York ceased (1985).An American plane TWA , after take off from Athens was forced to land in Beirut. The Aircraft stayed for a while at Beirut Airport with passengers and hijackers on board.
New York flight was stopped the day the hijackers killed an American passenger .
• 1987 : B707, B747 leased to Philipine Airlines.( hush-kitted B707 ) .
• 1988 : MEA flies to Tripoli / Lybia.
• 1989 : MEA offices in Montreal, Boston, and San Francisco.
• 1990 : One B747 leased to Air FranceDomestic Operation to Kleyate Airport ( Rene Mouawad Air Base ) .
• 1991 : MEA flies to Singapore , Accra in Ghana and Berlin in Germany.• 1992 : MEA flies to Sydney in Australia.
ABED EL HAMID FAKHOURY 1992 – 1995• 1993 MEA flies to Colombo in Sri Lanka
• 1993 / 1994 : AIRBUS 310 were acquired from KLM
KHALED SALAM 1995 – 1998
• 1995 : MEA flies to Sao Paolo in Brasil
• 1996 : The Central Bank of Lebanon acquired Almost all MEA ‘s shares.
• 1996 : MEA flies to Kuala Lampur in Malaysia and Bukharest in Romania• 1997 : MEA flies Airbus 320 and 321 .
MOHAMAD EL HOUT 1998 …TO DATE Since the company was exposed to several crisis and losses that could not be overcome , it was necessary to develop a rescue plan to maintain its continuity.
• 1998 : New board of directors,six members, chaired by Mohamad El Hout plan to restructure MEA for its safeguard.
RESTRUCTURING PLAN OF MEA 1999 -2002
Important decisions taken by board of directors :
• Closing unprofitable routes.
• Reducing and streamlining workforce.
• Increasing the productivity of staffs. Fleet Modernization.
The implementation of this program helped MEA to turn around from a Loss- making Airline to a profitable one by 2002.
• 1999 : MEAS , MEAG , were created ( Terminal Services & Ground Handling )
• 2001 : The most difficult decision to layoff excess staff , about 1.600 Employes through early retirements or assignments to affiliates.• 2002 : Decision to renew the fleet ; MEA brought and leased new Airbus Aircrafts.
• 2003 : Airbus 330-200 replaced the A 310.• 2006 : during the Summer, the Israeli war closed the Airport . MEA operated from Damascus ,Larnaca , and later Amman.13 July 2006 Israeli forces shell Rafic Hariri Airport in Beirut.
• 2007 : Decision to purchase 6 Airbus 320 and a new Livery for the fleet.
• 2008 : New Livery on the first owned Airbus 3302010 : A Majority of MEA is owned by the Central Bank of Beirut.
Delivery of 4 Airbus 320.
Self check-in Kiosk at Beirut Airport.
• 2012 : MEA joined the Sky Team Alliance in June ,
In September ; Extension of MEA’S exclusivity.
An order for 10 Airbus 321 neo’s , will be equipped with wifi.• 2013 : A320 painted in a Skyteam Livery.
New Destination : Yerevan in Armenia and Najaf in Iraq .
• 2015 : MEA Launched its new cargo center and the first phase of the MEA Training & Conference Center completed in 2017
29 May 2015 MEA celebrated its 70’s Anniversary.One A321 painted in the first MEA Livery.First Lebanese pilot in MEA ;Saad Dabbous with his two Sons and two Grandsons , all pilots in MEA.• 2016 : January, Cedar Executive founded : A Middle East Airlines subsidiary ; luxury private service company based in Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport. The delivery of an Embraer Legacy 500 business jet inaugurated the VIP charter services.
December , purchase of a new Airbus A330-200 .
2017 The Year of Achievements
• June : Delivery of 2nd Embraer Legacy 500.
• July (Daily Star News) : MEA records more than $1 Billion cumulative profits since 2002 as a result of the reforms and restructuring plan carried out since 1998 .Green Office Building (schematic design)• 11th October : MEA has set the corner stone of its Green Building.
• 13th October : opening the First phase of MEA new Cedar Lounge .Training & Conference Center
• 1st November: Inauguration of MEA Training & Conference Center
MEA FLEET 2018• 13 Airbus A320-200
• 5 Airbus A 330-200
• 2 Embraer Legacy 500 (Cedar Executive)
• 10 Airbus 321 Neo : deliveries begin 2020. One to be painted in a special livery
• 4 Airbus A330 Neo: deliveries begin 2021. Aircrafts equipped with Wifi.• 2018 : 2nd of March, The final opening of MEA Cedar Lounge at Rafic Hariri
• 2018 : 16th of June, the inauguration flight to Madrid Spain
2019 THE BEGINNING OF CRISIS
• June 17th : MEA signed a firm order for four A321XLR to be delivered between 2024 – 2025
• October 17th : The economic and financial crisis started following a cabinet announcement of new taxes measures. Civil protesters took to the street and blocked roads across the country
2020 THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
•March 11th : The Word Health Organization has declared the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic am international health emergency
• March 18th : The closure of Rafic Hariri International Airport and it was partially reopened in mid- April to operate evacuation flights for expatriates returning from abroad
• July 1st : The reopening of Rafic Hariri International Airport
• MEA operated a partial flight schedule based on load factor
• July 10th : The first Airbus A321 neo was delivered, a second one arrived the same month followed by one in October, two in November and two in December
• August 4th : Explosion at The Beirut Port . One of the largest non-nuclear explosion in Human History
• A warehouse at the Beirut port containing large quantities of ammonium nitrate exploded causing widespread damage over than 20 km from the port area.
• At least 218 deaths , 7000 injuries and 300.000 people homeless
THE PATH TO RECOVERY 2021-2022
• The magnitude of Covid-19 crisis for Airlines is massive , most companies have placed employees on unpaid leave or have indicated their intend to exit their job
• Several countries has stepped in to help their Airlines and announce specific rescue measures
• MEA strived to recover from the impact of multiple crisis; The economic crisis, the Covid-19 crisis and the fallout of Beirut port explosion
• Lebanon is facing the worst economic crisis since the civil war. The collapse was a bit a death fore hold accompanied by a subsequent devaluation of the local currency against the US dollar and restrictions on international transfers out of the country
• People have lost their desire to travel due to restrictions applied internationally
• MEA is operating 55% below pre-crisis levels in 2021 and with lower load factors
• The Middle East Airlines used its own fund to overcome the crisis using the resources saved during the last 18 years , MEA has made a continuous profits over the period
• MEA has also raised around 150$ million from sale and lease-back agreement covering some of its Airbus A321 neo in order to cover the gap between the revenue and the expenditure
• 2021 July 1st : MEA required payment for tickets in US dollars based on market rate.
• While most countries helped Airlines with their operating costs. MEA did not receive any support from the state and had to bear the operating costs of Rafic Hariri International Airport to keep it operational
• 2021 April 14th : MEA received its 8th Airbus A321 neo
• 2021 June 11th : The delivery of the 9th Airbus A321 neo
• 2021 July 28th : MEA signs Virgin Atlantic codeshare agreement to the United States via London Heathrow Airport
• 2021 November 12th : The delivery of the four Airbus A330- 900 is postponed until 2026
• 2022 January 4th : The General Assembly of shareholders re-elected MEA Board of Directors. The Board of Directors re-elected Mohamad El Hout Chairman and Director General of MEA
• 2022 June 14th : MEA won the Best Cabin Service award in the Middle East at the 2022 APEX Regional
MOHAMAD EL HOUT 1998-2023 25 Years of Achievements
• The board of Directors succeeded in maintaining the continuity of the company
• MEA moved into a positive territory last year
• The company was able to achieve the plans that were scheduled before the crisis
• 9 Airbus A321 neo received in 2020- 2021
• 4 Airbus A330-900 have been postponed until 2026
• As the country faces a decline in employment, MEA is hiring
• Income improved to meet the cost of living
• 2023 January 9th : 25 years of success are reflected by the opening of the new green building which coincided with the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Mohamad El Hout as Chairman and General Director of MEA
• The new Green Building that has been completed according to the highest international standards, is called green because it is environmentally friendly in terms of energy saving and the surrounding green spaces
A STORY OF SUCCESS
• Lebanon witnessed a dramatic collapse in basic services; substandard infrastructure, poverty and joblessness is at record levels with local currency nearly worthless
• MEA , A story of success that gives hope to people under this human tragedy that with proper planning, wise management, honesty, caution and diligence in decision-making
LEBANON home of MEA will recover from the crisis.
MEMORIES OF THE GREEN BUILDING OPENING CEREMONY
MEA FLEET 2022
– 9 Airbus A320-200
– 9 Airbus A321 neo
– 4 Airbus A 330-200
– 2 Embraer Legacy 500
MEA AFFILIATED COMPANIES
• MEAG : Middle East Airlines Ground Handling An Airport handling company.
• MASCO : MEDEAST Aircraft Services Company.
• CEDAR EXECUTIVE : a luxury private jet service company.
• MEAS : Middle East Airport services , a company specialized in Airport operation , Maintenance , Airport Consultancy and Facility Manegements
• LBACC : Lebanese Beirut Airport Catering Company Through these years ,MEA has maintained a reputation for technical excellence, a good safety record, and a high customer service standards , but among MEA‘S distinctions, its ability to face challenges, crises and difficult circumstances with a strong resolve and even a strong will , earning the tittle of :
“ World’s Most Resilient Airline “ RESILIENT AS ITS CEDAR EMBLEM.
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