Air Carrier MEA Records Over $7 Million Loss in January
Wednesday, 02 February 2011
Beirut, Middle East Airline lost between $7 million to $8 million in January 2011 because of the deep political crisis in Lebanon, Mohammad Hout, the chairman of the Lebanese national carrier said Tuesday. “January was not a good month for Lebanon. We always say that if Lebanon was ok then our company will be ok,” Hout told The Daily Star over the telephone.

The long-running political crisis in the country has affected most business with the exception of banks, which have managed to weather the effects of the political stalemate due to the large cash reserves they keep in their coffers.
“We haven’t had such a loss since the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006 when we lost $35 million. But the company managed to cope with the situation after that year and made high profits,” Hout said.

The carrier, which is mostly owned by the Central Bank, is expected to see a sharp drop in 2010 profits as a result of tense political situation, unfair competition from foreign airlines and the rise in the prices of fuel oil in the international markets.

Hout predicted earlier that MEA’s profits would fall by 40 percent at least in 2010 after recording a profit of more than $100 million in 2009.

The chairman stressed that MEA has no intention to raise the prices of plane tickets following the rise in the prices of oil in the international markets.

“We have kept the same prices for a long time. Our operations are national and commercial and today we are evacuating the Lebanese from Egypt,” Hout said. – 

Source: The Daily Star