For the first time in 26 years, Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines (MEA) recorded net profits of three million dollars in 2002, out of an operating income of eight million dollars.
Announcing the company’s audited financials for 2002 last week, MEA’s chairman Mohammed Hout attributed the results to a reform plan launched in 2001 that saved close to $27 million a year following the dismissal of 1,400 employees.
MEA has incurred a minimum of $450 million losses since its acquisition by the Central Bank of Lebanon (CBL) in 1996. The airline was established in 1945 and despite regular closure of the Beirut International Airport during Lebanon's civil war between 1973 and 1990, the company managed to survive, renting out airplanes and staff to other international carriers.
Last year, the airline raised funds to purchase six Airbus 321 planes for operation in 2003. The deal is valued at $270 million with each plane having a catalogue value of $65 million. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )