MEA, Brussels Airlines ink deal on flights to Africa
Middle East Airlines (MEA) continued its drive to reach out to the large Lebanese expatriate community in Africa after reaching an agreement with Brussels Airlines which will fly to a dozen African destinations to pick up the passengers on behalf the Lebanese national carrier.
MEA chairman Mohammad Hout, who paid a five-day visit to Brussels along with a large Lebanese media team, hailed the new agreement between the two airlines as step in the right direction.
“This step is in the framework of MEA’s expansion following the political and security stability which took place after the election of the President of the Republic Michel Sleiman. We hope that this stability continues so that growth can be sustained,” Hout told reporters.
MEA has started direct flights to Baghdad, Erbil, Medina and Brussels over the last few months. The company now flies to more than 30 destinations.
“The importance of this direct line between Beirut and Brussels is that it not only serves the movement between the two cities but also serves 12 African destinations. About 15 percent of total Lebanese expatriates are based in Africa,” Hout said.
He disclosed that the arrival of 7,300 Belgians to Lebanon this summer, adding that this figure is very promising.
“Yes the results in the summer were good. On the basis of these encouraging results we decided to continue direct flights to Brussels this winter and if the new season proves to be successful then the company will continue its program,” he said.
In June, MEA announced the continuation of its direct services between Brussels Airport and Beirut during the coming winter season.
The airline restarted direct evening flights to and from Brussels Airport three times weekly on June 22. At first, these flights were scheduled to continue until the middle of September, but this summer schedule is now prolonged to a year-round operation.
Officials say that restart of the Brussels-Beirut route proved to be an instant hit, and this success is not only related to the Lebanese diaspora. “Both business and leisure travelers rediscover the way to Beirut that has fully recaptured its title as Paris of the Middle East,” an official from Brussels Airlines said.
Since the middle of September, the current evening operation was replaced by a morning flight, operated three times per week by MEA.
This article was originally posted on Africa Travel - Tourism