Virgin Atlantic has today announced that it has signed a new codeshare agreement with Middle East Airlines (MEA). Virgin says the codeshare aims to make travel between Beirut and the United States seamless.
Customers booking flights between the Lebanese capital and the United States or vice versa can now effortlessly transfer through London Heathrow Airport. Currently, MEA operates two flights per day using its new Airbus A321neo aircraft.
The flights depart Beirut at 08:10 and 16:05 and land at London Heathrow (LHR) at 11:15 and 19:09. The beauty of the flights is that they arrive at Heathrow Terminal 3, the same place Virgin Atlantic flights to the United States arrive and depart.
The flights use Heathrow Terminal 3
From Terminal 3, arriving MEA passengers can fly on Virgin Atlantic to the following destinations in the United States:
- Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Likewise, passengers flying to Beirut from the United States can easily connect to Beirut’s MEA flight via Terminal 3. Most flights from North America to the United Kingdom are scheduled to arrive early in the morning, which means passengers onboard Virgin Atlantic flights will have plenty of time. The MEA flight from London to Beirut departs at 12:50 from Terminal 3. The flight time from London to Beirut is around four hours and thirty minutes.
“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.
“This new codeshare agreement will expand the commercial partnership between the two companies and their respective countries. At the same time, passengers of both airlines will be given more travel options, especially from Boston, New York JFK, and Los Angeles to Beirut and vice versa via London Heathrow Airport.
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented:
“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.”
Walid Abillama, Head of Commercial Strategy and Alliances at Middle East Airlines, commented:
“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.”
This new codeshare agreement will expand the commercial partnership between the two companies and their respective countries. At the same time, passengers of both airlines will be given more travel options especially from Boston, New York JFK and Los Angeles to Beirut and vice versa via London Heathrow Airport.
“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.”
About Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson in 1984, with innovation and amazing customer service at its core. In 2020, Virgin Atlantic was voted Britain’s only Global Five Star Airline by APEX for the fourth year running in the Official Airline Ratings. Headquartered in London, it employs 5,900 people worldwide, flying customers to 27 destinations across four continents. Alongside shareholder and Joint Venture partner Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic operates a leading transatlantic network, with onward connections to over 200 cities around the world. On 3 February 2020, Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic launched an expanded Joint Venture, offering a comprehensive route network, convenient flight schedules, competitive fares and reciprocal frequent flyer benefits, including the ability to earn and redeem miles across all carriers.
Sustainability remains central to the airline and since September 2019, Virgin Atlantic has welcomed seven brand new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, helping to transform the fleet into one of the youngest, quietest and most fuel efficient in the sky. By 2022, the airline will operate a streamlined fleet of 37 twin engine aircraft following the retirement of its B747-400s and A340-600s, making its simplified fleet 10% more efficient than before the Covid-19 crisis impacted.
About Middle East Airlines – Air Liban
Middle East Airlines – Air Liban (MEA) was established in 1945. It is a private commercial company governed by the Commercial Law in managing its operations. MEA is one of the major air carriers in the Middle East region. From its home base in Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, MEA operates flights to 32 international destinations in Europe, Middle East and West Africa.
MEA is a member of SkyTeam world alliance which includes a network of airlines that cover 1150 destinations in 177 countries. MEA fleet is composed of 20 Airbus aircrafts equipped with the latest technologies and inflight entertainment systems.