Middle East Airlines (MEA) of Lebanon has taken delivery of the first of six A321s scheduled for delivery during the year 2003 from Airbus. The A321 was handed over to Lebanese Minister of Transport Najib Mikati and Middle East Airlines Chairman and Director General Mohamed El Hout by Airbus President Noel Forgeard, at a ceremony held in Toulouse.
Middle East Airlines already operates a leased Airbus fleet since the early `90s, which the new aircraft will progressively replace. MEA will also integrate three new leased long-range widebody twin A330-200s, due for delivery this year.
The Beirut-based Lebanese flag carrier will operate its new A321 fleet on non-stop routes to the Gulf and Europe, as well as within the Middle East region. Middle East Airlines' A321s feature luxurious seating for 31 passengers in business class and 118 in economy, with personal television screens for everyone. MEA's A321s are powered by V2533 engines from International Aero Engines (IAE), featuring a quietness that meets tough new stage 4 noise standards.
"Middle East Airlines current healthy financial situation and fleet modernisation are the results of collective and combined efforts from the airline's management and staff, as well as Lebanon's Central Bank and Government's Transport Ministry" said Lebanese Minister of Transport Najib Mikati.
Middle East Airlines Chairman and Director General Mohamed El Hout also added: "Our main objective is to offer the most luxurious product to our passengers. The last part of our successful re-structuring plan was fleet modernisation, and Airbus was a winning choice.
The A321 offers an optimised comfort for passengers as well as the lowest operating cost, emissions and noise footprints in its size category. It was a natural choice for MEA.
"We are very proud to be part of Middle East Airlines' future, to which this all new Airbus fleet should profitably contribute," said Airbus President Noel Forgeard.
Designed to optimise passenger comfort and maximise cost savings, the A318, A319, A320 and A321 form the world's most profitable and best-selling single aisle-aircraft family.
The family is in widespread service around the world with some 120 customers and operators, including several airlines within the Middle East.
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