Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

Gulf Air signs codeshare agreement with Lebanon's Middle East Airlines

Partnership offers MEA passengers direct daily service from Beirut to Bahrain on Gulf Air

A Gulf Air passenger plane. The carrier has signed a codeshare deal with Lebanon's Middle East Airlines. AP
A Gulf Air passenger plane. The carrier has signed a codeshare deal with Lebanon's Middle East Airlines. AP

Bahrain-based Gulf Air signed a codeshare agreement with Lebanon's flag carrier Middle East Airlines (MEA) in a deal that will offer MEA passengers a direct daily service from Beirut to Bahrain on Gulf Air.

Middle East Airlines will place its ‘ME’ code on Gulf Air flights on the Beirut-Bahrain-Beirut route, Gulf Air said in a statement on its website on Tuesday.

"We are glad to sign this codeshare with Middle East Airlines and offer their passengers direct daily service from Beirut to Bahrain on Gulf Air," Krešimir Kučko, Gulf Air’s chief executive, said in the statement. "Beirut has always been a key route in our Middle Eastern network and we welcome this partnership with the flag carrier of Lebanon."

Gulf Air connects Bahrain and Lebanon with daily flights to Beirut's Rafic Hariri International Airport and adds more frequencies during peak travel seasons. Lebanon has been in the grip of anti-government protests since October 17. Protests against widespread corruption and mismanagement come amid the country's worst financial crisis in three decades.

"This codeshare with Gulf Air will complement the MEA network to the Gulf," Mohamad El Hout, chairman of MEA, said.

The partnership with Gulf Air allows MEA to offer its passengers a new destination in Bahrain in addition to other destinations in Asia via Gulf Air's network, Mr El Hout said.

In June, MEA signed a firm order for four of Airbus's longest-range jets at the Paris Airshow, making it the region's first carrier to commit to the A321 XLR single-aisle plane.

The airline will deploy the A321 XLR, an upgrade to Airbus' popular A321 Neo narrow-body, on routes in Africa and Asia.

MEA, owned by the Lebanese central bank, said it is the launch airline customer for the A321 XLR.

Gulf Air, Bahrain’s flag carrier and the oldest airline in the Gulf, is striving to become the “boutique carrier of the Middle East”, its chief operating officer Vincent Coste said in April.

Gulf Air has code-shares in place with Thai Airways, Royal Air Maroc and others, and forging agreements with new partners is “a very important pillar of our strategy”, Mr Coste said at the time.

Updated: December 3, 2019 05:51 PM

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