In 1945, Middle East Airlines was established and launched its first service from Beirut to the neighboring cities of Syria, Cyprus, Egypt then Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other destinations in the Gulf. In 1963, after the merger with Air Liban, MEA added new European, Middle Eastern and West African destinations to its worldwide network.
Despite closure of Beirut International Airport during Lebanon’s civil war between 1975 and 1990, MEA managed to survive by leasing aircrafts and seconding staff to international airline companies. With the return to normality in 1990, MEA succeeded in reinstating service to all its previous destinations, strengthened and improved its network to Europe, Middle East and the Gulf.
From 1998 to 2002, MEA implemented its largest restructuring ever, turning around the company from huge annual losses reaching 87 Million dollars in 1997 to achieve a net profit of 22 Million dollars in 2003. In 2004, MEA achieved a net profit of 50 Million dollars. The business plan included the rationalization of MEA’s network, streamlining its purchasing policy, cost reductions at all levels of the airline, the launch of the frequent flyer program and yield management systems, as well as a number of other measures destined to modernize and restructure the airline.
In 2005, and in spite of the unstable political situation, MEA was able to achieve a profit of US $ 46 Million.
In 2006, MEA succeeded in achieving around US $ 20 Million in spite of the Israeli aggression which resulted in US $ 45 Million losses (US $ 16 Million direct losses and US $ 29 indirect losses).
At the onset of the July 2006 war, Rafic Hariri International Airport-Beirut was the first target to be hit by the Israeli air raid. During the aggression which lasted from 12 July 2006 till 16 August 2006, MEA operated regular flights from / to Damascus International Airport and later via Amman Airport defying the imposed air blockade (17 August 2006 till 7 September 2006).
The war circumstances required immediate and exceptional decisions that would enable the carrier to continue to serve its passengers and preserve the highest safety and maintenance standards in order to remain bearer of the Cedar of Lebanon to all areas of the world.
P.O. Box 11-206
Beirut, Lebanon 1107-2801