BEIRUT, Feb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Middle East Airlines – Air Liban (MEA), the flag carrier of Lebanon, today signed an agreement to join SkyTeam in 2012. MEA will be the alliance's second member from the Middle East, a strategic growth market for SkyTeam.
SkyTeam is actively working to strengthen its presence in the Middle East, one of the world's most important and rapidly growing economic regions. The addition of MEA to the alliance network will enable SkyTeam to compete more efficiently, not only within the Middle East, but also to and from Western Africa. SkyTeam in return offers MEA a complementary global network. MEA customers will be able to connect to the world through traffic flows from the SkyTeam hubs in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
MEA has continued to improve its products and services to customers ever since it successfully concluded a thorough restructuring plan, intended to modernize and restructure the airline. Key elements of this plan included fleet renewal and rationalization, increasing the density of the carrier's European, Middle East and West African network and improving product quality and consistency.
MEA Chairman - Director General Mohamad El-Hout stated: "By joining SkyTeam, MEA being relatively a small airline, will now be able to provide its customers an extensive global network covering Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. MEA customers will benefit from SkyTeam members' loyalty program as well as ST members lounges at all airports worldwide."
SkyTeam Chairman Leo van Wijk said: "Today marks yet another confirmation of SkyTeam's growing global family. The Middle East is a strategic market for our alliance as we continue to extend the SkyTeam network to all corners of the globe. The region has seen an impressive growth in traffic over the past decade and we want to engage actively in this expansion. I am convinced that MEA will develop into a significant and valuable player in Middle East aviation."
SkyTeam Managing Director, Marie-Joseph Male, illustrates the alliance's continuing global expansion: "This year China Airlines and China Eastern with its daughter company Shanghai Airlines will effectively join us, according to plan. Garuda Indonesia, Aerolineas Argentinas and Saudi Arabian Airlines have all confirmed their membership effective in 2012. We will continue to work on further expansion of our global network by looking for partners from India and Latin America."
SkyTeam is a global airline alliance providing customers from member airlines access to an extensive global network with more destinations, more frequencies and more connectivity. Passengers can earn and redeem Frequent Flyer Miles throughout the SkyTeam network. SkyTeam member airlines offer customers over 420 lounges worldwide. The thirteen members are: Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, TAROM and Vietnam Airlines. SkyTeam offers its 385 million annual passengers a worldwide system of over 12,500 daily flights to 898 destinations in 169 countries. www.skyteam.com
About Middle East Airlines
Middle East Airlines, the national airline of Lebanon, is one of the leading Middle Eastern carriers. From its home base in Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, Middle East Airlines flies to 30 international destinations in Europe, Middle East and West Africa. Since 2003 the airline has carried out an ambitious fleet renewal program, with the addition of four Airbus A330-200s and the acquisition of six Airbus A321s and A320s, which make up the current Middle East Airline fleet. MEA offers its customers very luxurious services both on ground and on board, reflecting Lebanese culture and hospitality. For more information about MEA, visit www.mea.com.lb