BA
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Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:44 am

Lebanon and the EU have agreed to an open skies policy in which European airlines would have unrestricted access in serving Beirut, Lebanon and the national carrier, Middle East Airlines (MEA) would have unrestricted access in serving all EU airports with unrestricted frequencies.

Lebanon will be the only country in the region to enjoy such a policy.

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=3&article_id=10000

This will mean MEA will be allowed to increase Frankfurt (FRA) service to daily as they have been wanting to do for a long time.

MEA is still in negotiations with London Heathrow to update the necessary slots they want in order to operate LHR service daily on a year-round basis and not just in the summer. MEA currently operates 5x weekly to LHR.

This will also finally legalize Star Airlines' intention to begin 2x weekly service from Paris CDG to Beirut.

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
EurostarVA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:49 am

Great incentive for both parties, especially Lebanon in boosting European tourist arrivals.
If there is a will, there is a way
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 8:04 am

I agree EurostarVA. European tourist numbers already rose dramatically this year compared to last year. This will only help it further.

MEA is not very happy about Lebanon's open skies policy and believes there should be some regulation. I do agree with them.

At least this policy does benefit them though. They can operate as many flights as they want to EU countries now and as many destinations as they want.

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 8:06 am

Lebanon will be the only country in the region to enjoy such a policy.

With the EU.

There are other OpenSkies agreements active in the MidEast however.
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 8:38 am

With the EU.

There are other OpenSkies agreements active in the MidEast however.


Yes, that's what I meant. Lebanon has had an Open Skies policy since 2000 and Dubai in the UAE has an Open Skies policy, I'm not sure about the rest of the UAE.

Those are the only Open Sky policies in the Middle East.

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 10:50 am

After thinking about it, I am sure MEA is going to be very mad at this.

Mohammed El-Hout was talking about how a foreign airline like Cyprus Airways will now be able to operate flights between Europe and Beirut.

I don't blame MEA for being disappointed...

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
airxliban
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 2:34 pm

this is not good news for MEA...
PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
behramjee
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:16 pm

BA,

If MEA is having obtaining slots at LHR for daily operations and if there is so much demand from London and its surrounding areas to BEY and beyond on MEA, then why dont MEA explore the possibility of flying to LGW either daily or 4-5 times a week with A 321s or A 332s if getting LHR slots is a costly and time consuming procedure.

LGW slots are far cheaper than LHRs and quicker to obtain though I know its the lesser yielding airport than LHR but as long as there is demand out of London to BEY and beyond it should be ok.
 
EurostarVA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:27 pm

Perhaps not good news but certainly more reason why MEA should continue on its path of competition and strive for customer satisfaction. While this new agreement might haunt MEA at the moment, it will certainly have a great overall effect for the Lebanese economy provided the goverment continues to provide an enabling environment for private sector investment in the tourism industry. We need more beach resorts, ski resorts and yearly events similar to those held in Dubai.

I wish the best for Lebanon and Beirut International Airport.

If there is a will, there is a way
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:39 pm

Behramjee,

MEA is able to acquire slots to make the service daily, however on days Monday and Friday (the days they do not operate), they are able to acquire slots that require an 8 hour layover in LHR. Something MEA does not want because of high costs associated with the expensive parking fees in LHR and also aircraft utilization.

LGW isn't really an option as it would be a completely new station. The costs would be as if MEA were opening an entirely new destination.

MEA is not a rich airline like Etihad, Qatar, or Emirates.

They recieve no subsidies and just started making profits a year ago.

Also keep in mind that MEA has strong interline agreements with Air New Zealand, Virgin Atlantic and a few other airlines at LHR. They want to take advantage of them.

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
behramjee
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 4:21 pm

The main ppl benefitting from this will be BEYs hotel, employment, tourism and services industry as it will lead to increased hotel rooms being filled, more services in demand by Europeans from the BEY traders, BEY airport will become even more busier thus making more revenue and creating new jobs to handle the extra rush.

MEA would and can only benefit if it had more planes to fly extra frequencies to key German and French routes which are the main money makers for the airline...especially CDG  Big grin
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 5:56 pm

I believe because of the old colonial ties between France and Lebanon. There hasn't been much restriction if any on MEA operations in CDG.

MEA has been given priority in timings and use the modern Terminal 2F in CDG. I also believe that MEA is guaranteed the use of a jetway now and they no longer have to park on the ramp periodically.

Of course, this may have changed with the closure of Terminal 2E as a result of the collapse last summer.

MEA currently has a daily A321-200 departing from Beirut at 2:05AM and a daily A330-200 departing from Beirut at 8:05AM.

When MEA acquires the 4th A330-200 they intend to order soon, they will upgrade the 2:05AM departure from Beirut to an A330-200. So they will operate Beirut service as 2x daily A330-200 instead of 1x daily A321-200 and 1x daily A330-200.

The Germany - Lebanon market simply cannot be compared to the France - Lebanon market, but it is under served.

I can't really confirm it, but I heard that Frankfurt - Beirut is MEA's highest average loadfactor route, at least it was maybe for a while.

This is why they have been desperately seeking to increase flights to daily, at least for the summer time.

Geneva (GVA) is another very very successful and profitable route for MEA. They have once or twice subbed in the A330-200 instead of the A321-200 a few months ago because of high loads.

Switzerland isn't part of the EU though, so this won't affect them. Although I don't think MEA wants to increase Geneva service, at least it wasn't mentioned.

They will need more aircraft if they want to increase frequencies on multiple European destinations.

MEA flies to FRA and GVA, both 3x weekly A321-200. In the summer, they both increase to 4x weekly A321-200.

I hope that one day MEA will de-link its single triangle route, BEY-FCO-MXP-BEY. I don't see it happening until they acquire more aircraft though.

I think it may be a wise choice if MEA discontinued MXP and code-shares with Alitalia on the route which operates 9x weekly A320-200 non-stop service (daily late night flight and weekend morning flight). That way MEA could focus on FCO and Alitalia could code-share on it.

This would make even more sense now that MEA will become a Skyteam associate member next year...

Beirut is in the need of more widebody gates. There are already plans being made to expand the airport by adding 7 gates, all of which would accomodate widebodies, yet the airport has just reached half it's capacity! The issue is simply a lack of widebody gates. Beirut is seeing a surge of widebody aircraft in the summer. Apparantly this summer they had some difficulty.

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
FlySSC
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:20 pm

BA,

Lebanon had already an "Open sky" in facts with most of the Middle-East Airlines/countries as some of them operate without restrictions with a 5th freedom right from BEY, including Syrian Air !

The Governement has taken this decision last year I think to boost the traffic at BEY airport, without taking care of the dangers that could result for MEA...

When this "Open sky" will be signed with the E.U, the biggest benefits will go to the European airlines that will have an unrestricted access to BEY, and will challenge badly MEA as they are much more powerful.
OK, MEA will have her Daily LHR and Daily FRA...and then ?

This may be good for Lebanon, and tourism in Lebanon but it is certainly not good for MEA as it happens to soon.
 
soups
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:26 pm

thats more competition for MEA as any EU airline can start operating routes from Bey and carrying passengers like CY to dubai AND SO ON
Next destinations, Suarabaya, beirut, paris, Accra
 
cedarjet
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:43 pm

Come on MEA fans, get real. (1) The Open Skies (and please use a space between the words, it's not a brand) policy will benefit Lebanon massively. Why would the Lebanese gov't avoid a policy that will benefit the whole nation just to protect an airline with nine planes?! National airlines are there to advance the national interest, not stand in the way of it. (2) MEA isn't going away just because of a few extra Lufthansa A320s flying into BEY. They flew through fifteen years of ghastly civil war, with their planes being shot at in the air regularly and a dozen 707s and 720Bs destroyed on the ground. If they can survive that they can survive anything.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
FlySSC
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Wed Nov 10, 2004 1:46 am

Cedarjet,

We all know, and we all agree, that this Open sky agreement will be good for Lebanon.
But MEA can't challenge the unfair competition of airlines like QR, Etihad or Emirates : Those airlines have endless backing from their governments, they don't pay for fuel and don't pay any taxes at their respective HUBS ! In that condition, it's very easy to place outstanding orders for new airliners every two weeks and to expand ever and ever...
MEA is still in a "recovery" situation, its development in the Middle East and the Gulf, a natural market is very slow and very difficult because of this unfair competition. Europe could have been a better development area.
OK MEA is a small airline with only 9 a/c but precisely because they don't have enough support from the government who prefers to waste billions of $ in stupid and useless real estate projects... (OK. That's a bit out of subject).

You are right, MEA survived 15 years of a terrible war...but the time has changed, and this "new" war MEA will have to face is from another kind... and may be even worse.

 
gigneil
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Wed Nov 10, 2004 2:04 am

Those airlines have endless backing from their governments, they don't pay for fuel and don't pay any taxes at their respective HUBS !

Jesus will it never end?

EK and QR PAY FOR FUEL.

N
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Wed Nov 10, 2004 2:04 am

Lebanon had already an "Open sky" in facts with most of the Middle-East Airlines/countries as some of them operate without restrictions with a 5th freedom right from BEY, including Syrian Air !

As I have mentioned many times in this forum and once in this post, the Lebanon adopted the open sky policy in 2000. Prime Minister Rafik Hariri (no longer prime minister unfortunately) was the one who wanted it.

I agree that this is not good for MEA's interests. But as CedarJet said, it is good for the interest of the entire nation.

I do hope some measures can be taken to protect MEA. I think MEA needs to market itself more.

We'll see how it goes. In my opinion, the real dangers are the gulf carriers who are able to significantly undercut MEA's prices. Even the European carriers complain about the gulf carriers...

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
FlySSC
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Wed Nov 10, 2004 3:16 am

EK and QR PAY FOR FUEL

Sure ...! and I am the Queen of England !!!

How much do they pay for it ??? while in BEY, the Fuel is so expensive that Air france, for example, take enough fuel in the B772 in Paris in the morning to be able to opearte AF566 and AF565 back to CDG without refueling in BEY !
 
MEA310
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Wed Nov 10, 2004 4:34 am

Speaking of AF566,today's flight was cancelled.
British Airways also had their flight cancelled today,my sister was put on the MEA service to LHR.

MEA310
M5 Fastest Sedan On Earth
 
FlySSC
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Wed Nov 10, 2004 4:51 am

AF566/AF565 was cancelled on tuesdays during the Ramadan because of a low demand...but it was not last minute cancellations... that was in the program already a month ago.
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Wed Nov 10, 2004 8:02 am

They do that 4 weeks of every year.
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Wed Nov 10, 2004 10:22 am

FLYSSC,

There is a good article about Emirates in the Daily Star.

I can see why many people may think Emirates gets free fuel, but many on here and several articles refute it.

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=3&article_id=9714

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Wed Nov 10, 2004 2:00 pm

Lebanon now has Open Skies agreements with the following:

1) United Arab Emirates
2) Malaysia
3) European Union

Does anyone know of any others?

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Wed Nov 10, 2004 4:08 pm

After doing some research, last January Lebanon signed an open skies policy with Bahrain, although no airline has taken advantage of it so far.

So that means (in order of implementation):

1) United Arab Emirates
2) Malaysia
3) Bahrain
4) European Union

Any others?

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Fri Nov 12, 2004 10:41 am

This article just came out today:

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=3&article_id=10105

Certainly not good..........

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
MOE777
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Fri Nov 12, 2004 5:59 pm

why don't other south east asian airlines(SQ, TG ,) besides malaysain fly beirut?
 
brightcedars
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Fri Nov 12, 2004 6:33 pm

Gulf carriers undercutting MEA's fare? If anything we're talking about little amounts in the single digit range. Also, isn't there an overall problem regarding air fares in the region no matter what route one is talking about? It seems to me fares have a really nice premium compared to a flight of a similar distance in say, the EU.

Checking out Air Arabia's fares - a low-cost airline based at SHJ - on the net sent me rolling on the floor laughing. Look at the price of the hop between BEY and LCA. It never turned out a viable opportunity to use an award ticket to LCA because of the premium it costs to issue the LCA-BEY ticket. Around here when FR started service at CRL they had return fares in the 8 EUR range before tax on CRL-DUB.

I hope open sky will bring prices down from BEY for the best interest of the people there. It happened that I chose to cross tickets purchased originating in BRU rather than purchase one originating in BRU and one in BEY. It's just not the same price on the same plane if you leave from a different end!
I want the European Union flag on airliners.net!
 
brightcedars
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Fri Nov 12, 2004 8:21 pm

By the way, long before all this, I remember a rather opened agreement was in place between Belgium and Lebanon allowing Sabena and MEA (or any other operator from those countries) alike to carry passengers from BRU and BEY thru about any point en route and beyond each other's home bases.

I even think there was a BEY stopover on Sabena's Asian route at some point, something like BRU-ATH-BEY-BOM-BKK-NRT or so. This must have been pretty close to an open sky agreement, even if the term was not really used in those times and even if Belgium is definitely nothing to compare to the entire EU.  Smile

Nonetheless it could be considered a much earlier open sky agreement.
I want the European Union flag on airliners.net!
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Sat Nov 13, 2004 4:57 am

BrightCedars,

$99 fares on Etihad versus $200-$300 fares on MEA and Gulf Air from Abu Dhabi. That's two digits.

Regarding the open skies, I believe any airline can operate between Brussels and Beirut without restrictions.

This is why Syrian Air flies 1x weekly DAM-BEY-BRU-BEY-DAM service. Their only flight to Beirut.

Yemenia was supposed to start SAH-BEY-BRU-BEY-SAH but they never did.

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Sat Nov 13, 2004 6:28 am

MOE777,

why don't other south east asian airlines(SQ, TG ,) besides malaysain fly beirut?

The market is not very big, but it is growing.

SriLankan Airlines is planning to return as a 2x weekly service via Kuwait (KWI) hopefully next year.

But wait.....Sri Lanka is in South Asia, not Southeast Asia, so I went off topic.  Smile

Thai Airways has mentioned they intend to serve Beirut "sometime in the near future" but with no details whatsoever. I believe I heard they want to take advantage of Beirut's Open Skies policy with the flights continuing to places in Europe or Africa.

I'd like to see Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific one day...

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
brightcedars
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Sat Nov 13, 2004 6:19 pm

BA, thanks for the hint. Isn't that however some kind of introductory fare overly restricted or to be short lived? I hope not. Does your quote include airport and other taxes?

And ok, this is a Gulf route. But I'm especially amazed at the fare difference if you take a West of Europe-Near East flight (more in line with the topic here) with fares that are comparable to crossing the Atlantic from the same West of Europe area (e.g. 340 EUR with tax BRU-ZRH-JFK against nearly or in excess of 500 EUR on a sunny day for BRU-you name it-BEY), although half the distance and mostly done using equipment that would otherwise rest on the tarmac but a few exceptions (AF, BA, MEA), and with more limited in flight amenities.

Also, how do you explain the prohibitive airport tax regime in place at many airports in the region. I mean BEY's tax really hits the wallet, and it seems it's not an exception in the Near/Middle East. It's as bad as it can make the difference for a family of 3 to fly 2 rather than 3 times a year to BEY for instance.
I want the European Union flag on airliners.net!
 
yegbey01
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 16, 2004 9:24 am

I personally would rather see more flights to BEY regardless of whether it's MEA or not... I mean last summer it was impossible to find a flight to BEY from Eruope in August...

As a consumer, I want cheap prices...if MEA can't adjust their cost structure, well, that's too bad. People across the world have shown how little loyalty they have towards the traditional carriers which explains how low cost carriers have mushroomed...

Hopefully one day, you could fly from LHR or FRA to BEY for three or four hundered dollars in the summer just like what people pay when they fly to TLV and Dubai...
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 16, 2004 9:41 am

Yegbey01,

We thought you disappeared off the face of the Earth. Welcome back!  Smile

BrightCedars,

I don't know how long they were offering the $99 fares. It's probably more now, but they are still cheaper than MEA and Gulf Air.

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
yegbey01
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 16, 2004 9:46 am

BA,
I have been too busy at work lately. I travelled so much in the past 6 months for work and leisure in addition to my part time graduate school work... I haven't been able to catch up at all.

All I can share with you is that I have been quite diappointed with MEA's flights last summer from DXb - BEY...So I am quite happy to see an opportunity for other carriers to start operating flights to BEY
 
BA
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 16, 2004 10:02 am

That's too bad Yegbey01. I had a great time flying MEA this summer.

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
yegbey01
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 16, 2004 10:32 am

BA,

That was my first MEA flight since 92....I just had more expectations given what everyone has been saying...both flights were operated on A321s and were quite smooth, but they could use some help in terms of service standards (They really need some serious training in customer service)

I have to put things in perspective though...I had flown the week before from Hong Kong to DXB on SQ which was just wowing (even in coah)....MEA has quite a ways to go to be able to compete with the likes of EK and SQ...(That is the sad part...)

Anyways, I am glad yor experience with MEA was more enojyable.
 
CB777
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RE: Lebanon And EU To Finalize Open Skies Policy

Tue Nov 16, 2004 10:49 am

The a/c order should be coming up shortly for LN