Air Transport World

MEA: up from the ashes. (Middle East Airlines survives Lebanese civil war) (Company Profile)

Middle East Airlines, Lebanon's privately owned flag carrier, has risen like the mythical phoenix from its own ashes. And like the phoenix, more than once. MEA would have been happy to suffer only the financial problems that have killed other airlines.

But WA also had to find a way--and it did--to survive in the midst of a dirty, on-again, off-again civil war that imperiled the fives of its employees and at times, made Beirut International Airport a dangerous no-man's-land.

The strife between religious and political factions that began in '75, and invasions by Israeli forces in response to actions of Lebanon-based groups, laid waste to traffic. Except for short cease-fires and truces, it forced the closing of Beirut airport again and again, for the equivalent of about 2 1/2 years between '75-89. In '89 alone, it was closed for seven months. …

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