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Middle East Airlines History

Middle East Airlines (MEA), also known as Air Liban, is the national flag carrier of Lebanon. Established in 1945, MEA has played a significant role in connecting Lebanon to the rest of the world and promoting tourism and trade in the Middle East region.

The airline's history dates back to the end of World War II when Lebanon gained independence from France. In 1945, the Lebanese government established Middle East Airlines as a joint venture with Air France, with the aim of creating a national airline that would serve as a symbol of Lebanon's sovereignty and independence.

MEA's first flight took off on January 1, 1946, with a DC-3 aircraft operating between Beirut and Nicosia, Cyprus. Over the years, the airline expanded its route network and fleet, introducing more modern and efficient aircraft to meet the growing demand for air travel in the region.

More Airline Insights & Tips

Here are a few of helpful resources & tips that can further enhance your knowledge of Middle East airlines and how to best be prepared for your trip:

Beyond the history presented here for Middle East , if you’re wanting more aviation history, read about the history of commercial flight here, or the history of the airline industry here.

During the 1960s and 1970s, MEA experienced a period of rapid growth and became one of the leading airlines in the Middle East. The airline introduced jet aircraft, such as the Boeing 707 and later the Airbus A310, which allowed for longer flights and increased passenger capacity.

However, MEA faced numerous challenges during Lebanon's civil war, which lasted from 1975 to 1990. The conflict severely impacted the airline's operations, with many of its aircraft destroyed or damaged. Despite these setbacks, MEA managed to continue operating limited services and maintained its status as Lebanon's national carrier.

After the civil war, MEA embarked on a process of modernization and expansion. The airline introduced newer aircraft models, including the Airbus A320 and A330, and expanded its route network to include destinations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Today, Middle East Airlines is known for its high standards of service, modern fleet, and commitment to passenger safety. The airline has received several awards for its excellence in customer service and has become a symbol of Lebanon's resilience and determination.

For more information about this airline, check out our comprehensive Middle East Airlines Guide.

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