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Virgin Atlantic Announces New Codeshare Agreement With Middle East Airlines – Air Liban

Today, Virgin Atlantic announced the launch of a new codeshare partnership with Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA). The unilateral agreement will provide seamless connections between the U.S. and Beirut via London Heathrow.

Virgin Atlantic A330-900 Rendering - Courtesy Airbus

On Wednesday (July 28, 2021), Virgin Atlantic announced the signing of a unilateral codeshare agreement with Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA), which will provide seamless connectivity between the U.S. and Beirut via London Heathrow. Customers booking through Virgin Atlantic can now travel from Boston, New York-JFK and Los Angeles to Beirut with a seamless connection to a MEA flight at London Heathrow Terminal 3.

Middle East Airlines-Air Liban was founded in 1945 and is a private commercial company. From their home base at Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, the airline offers flights to 32 international destinations in Europe, the Middle East and West Africa. MEA is a member of the SkyTeam global alliance and operates an all Airbus fleet of 20 aircraft.

In Wednesday’s announcement, Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Commercial Officer, Juha Jarvinen, said,

“We’re delighted to launch this new codeshare partnership with MEA Middle East Airlines -Air Liban. As we recover from the pandemic, partnerships are more important than ever, and we look forward to building on the incredibly successful interline relationship we have had in place for a number of years. With a large diaspora population of Lebanese living in the US, this new partnership aims to respond to the large, fast-growing demand to visit friends and relatives as people start to travel to visit their loved ones post Covid-19. We also expect to capture demand for business and leisure travel to the vibrant city of Beirut as travel restrictions begin to relax and global economies gradually recover from the impact of the pandemic.”

Also commenting on the new codeshare partnership, Middle East Airlines’ Head of Commercial Strategy and Alliances, Walid Abillama, said,

“Our interline relationship with Virgin Atlantic was the first to target the US travel market to Beirut, and so it is natural for us to partner with Virgin Atlantic and build the first US codeshare agreement targeting Beirut. We are hopeful that this partnership will reintegrate Beirut within the global economy as a post Covid-19 travel destination and will maintain its promise of resilience.”

Founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson in 1984, Virgin Atlantic has brought innovation and the highest level of customer care to the airline industry. The carrier was voted Britain’s only Global Five Star Airline by APEX in 2020 for the fourth consecutive year. Headquartered in London, Virgin Atlantic employs 5,900 team members worldwide. The airline currently serves 27 destinations across four continents. Alongside shareholder and Joint Venture partner Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic operates a leading network between the US and UK, with onward connections to over 200 cities around the world. By 2022, Virgin Atlantic will operate an efficient and simplified fleet of 37 twin-engine aircraft, delivering a 10 percent savings compared to the aircraft they replace.

Source: Virgin Atlantic


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