Lebanon Businessnews News

MEA to add
four new aircraft
To install second flight simulator
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Middle East Airlines (MEA), the national flag carrier, plans to add four new aircraft to its fleet. The firm will either buy or rent the planes. Two will be delivered in 2019, and the remaining in 2020.

Mohammad El Hout, Chairman of MEA, said: “Negotiations are in the final phase. The planes will either be Airbus or Boeing.” The company said that it will come to a final decision in January.

MEA currently has a fleet of 18 aircraft, some of which are owned or rented.

According to El Hout, if the GCC countries lift their travel embargo and tourists return to Lebanon, at least seven more planes would be required.

MEA is also in negotiations for the purchase of a second flight simulator, with delivery plans by the end of 2017. The simulator will be for an Airbus 330 or Boeing 787.

El Hout said that the number of passengers has increased ten percent this year compared to 2015. But revenues have so far decreased by $70 million.

“It is because the number of passengers in the business section of flights has dropped by around 25,000 this year.”

MEA has requested the Government pay more than $70 million in operation and maintenance fees. “The Government should be aware of its responsibilities and pay the company. Things cannot go on as they are,” he said.

El Hout also said that there is a possibility that MEA will begin direct flights to Canada and Air Canada to Lebanon.

“Air Canada stopped flights to Lebanon more than ten years ago, citing security reasons. We hope this has been abolished now.”
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Dec 07, 2016
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