Lebanon eyes direct flights to Canada

Middle East Airlines is currently negotiating a codeshare agreement with Air Canada with the aim of providing the first direct flights to and from both countries, a senior MEA official has told Annahar.

19 June 2017 | 17:56

Source: Annahar

  • By Annahar Staff
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 19 June 2017 | 17:56

BEIRUT: Middle East Airlines is currently negotiating a codeshare agreement with Air Canada with the aim of providing the first direct flights to and from both countries, a senior MEA official has told Annahar.

A codeshare agreement is a common aviation business deal where two or more airlines share the same flight. According to the potential codeshare agreement between Air Canada and MEA, Air Canada will begin to conduct flights from Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal to Beirut. The Canadian airline will also sell to MEA a portion of the seats on flights to Beirut. After two years of coming into effect, the agreement would allow MEA aircrafts to cross the Atlantic for the first time in over three decades and land in Montreal.

The senior official who disclosed news of the potential agreement to Annahar, choosing to remain anonymous, said that up until this point, “the deal is still on the table, but the Canadians have clearly communicated their intentions to facilitate flights to and from Beirut.”

Inquiring into whether MEA is equipped with aircraft capable of transatlantic travel, a high-ranking pilot and aviation expert from MEA, who also chose to remain anonymous, explained that the MEA’s fleet is comprised of 18 airplanes, five of which are of the Airbus A330 model, capable of accommodating 250 passengers and flying continually for at least 12 and a half hours.

“The task of a direct flight is thus easily realizable on our part,” he said, considering that a direct flight to Montreal would take 11 hours.

Fulfilling the codeshare agreement with Air Canada would mark a milestone for the Lebanese airline, which currently operates flights to 32 destinations and is a member of the Skyteam Alliance, a global route network covering 1,060 destinations in 177 countries.

“The deal rests with the civil aviation authorities of both countries,” said the MEA official, “and it is in our best interest to approve and implement it within the set time.”

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