Middle East Airlines – Air Liban, the flag carrier of Lebanon, signs 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.”
Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, CEO of Air France-KLM declared: “We are extremely pleased that MEA will be joining SkyTeam, as it will strengthen the links already established with Air France over the past 12 years and will offer customers in the Middle East access to Air France, KLM and SkyTeam’s powerful global network.”
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 Malé, 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, Aerolíneas 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.”