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.
NAJIB ALAMEDDINE 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 Airport.
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.