Middle East Airlines was at its peak from its establishment in the 50s until the Lebanese Civil War in the late 70s. With Beirut rising as the Paris of the Middle East and as a prominent Arab hub for fashion and finance, MEA thrived and became one of the world's leading carriers.
Between 1950 and 1970, most of the destinations we know of today were established, but others were discontinued after the war due to weak revenues and the airline's turbulent situation. Here is a list of discontinued destinations that were once part of the national carrier's glorious route map.
1. 1950 - Nicosia, Dhahran
The two cities were the very first destinations MEA flew to, in addition to Baghdad, Cairo and Kuwait. Dhahran was specifically important due to it being Saudi Arabia's oil hub, and Beirut was on PanAm's round-the-world flight route (starting in New York City) as the connection just before reaching Dhahran. Therefore, MEA became a carrier of choice for major Saudi oil company ARAMCO's American employees, many of whom resided and raised families in Beirut.
2. 1952 - Jerusalem
Beirut and Jerusalem enjoyed heavy passenger exchange due to the presence of vast Palestinian and Jewish communities alike in Lebanon.
3. 1955 - Ankara (via Nicosia), Aleppo
The Turkish capital and Syria's now-destructed Aleppo became daily flight destinations for MEA.
4. 1957 - Vienna (via Istanbul), Tehran (via Baghdad)
Vienna was a splendid addition to the airline's European network and the Tehran route reflected the glory days of both Lebanon and Iran.
5. 1958 - Aden (via Jeddah), Karachi and Bombay (both via Kuwait and Bahrain)
Aden was a main trade hub, and Pakistan and India were profit-generating for MEA as it carried many nationals from those two countries to the Gulf region.
6. 1960 - Lisbon and Madrid (both via Rome)
By then, MEA initiated flights to France, Germany, United Kingdom, and several other European countries. We do, nonetheless, wish those two destinations would come back!
7. 1964 - Khartoum, Robertsfield International Airport, and Freetown
MEA's African network rapidly expanded, joining these three destinations with its still existing flights to Accra, Abidjan, Kano and Lagos. At the time, Robertsfield was the main airport of Monrovia, Liberia.
8. 1966 - Addis Ababa, Benghazi
Though there is a non-MEA direct Beirut-Addis Ababa flight today, MEA's past African presence hasn't remain the same.
9. 1967 - Amsterdam
Recent unofficial talks about reviving the Amsterdam route have been heard, but nothing is confirmed. We hope it works, though!
10. 1983 - New York
Can it be 1983 again?
11. 1996 - São Paulo
The large Lebanese community in Brazil made such a route inevitable to implement. However, it was sadly short-lived.