Lebanese national flag carrier Middle East Airlines (MEA) has taken delivery of its very first Airbus A321neo. In a statement released yesterday by the European planemaker, Airbus said that the Beirut- based airline had received the aircraft from its factory in Hamburg, Germany.
The delivery of the highly efficient plane is the first of nine Airbus A321neos that the SkyTeam alliance member will take delivery of over the coming months. Powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM geared turbofan engines MEA’s new jet is configured in a two-class layout with 28 seats in business class and 123 seats in economy.
Panasonic is supplying the inflight entertainment system
Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) has been selected by MEA to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for 15 of its Airbus A321 family aircraft. This partnership will see the Japanese electronics giant provide IFE solutions for all nine of its new Airbus A321neos. Altogether, each aircraft will be fitted with Panasonic’s eX1 seatbackIFE solution. This has been specially designed for narrowbody planes.
According to an MEA press release seen by Simple Flying, the eX1 offers full elegant seatback HD monitors with touch screen displays. Additionally, the handsets have an innovative interface.
Each seat on the new A321neos comes with a USB and laptop charging point. Furthermore, they will have inflight WiFi supplied by Panasonic’s latest next-generation technology. This uses satellite connectivity that is up to 20 times faster than what was previously available.
When speaking about the new inflight entertainment Chairman and Director General of Middle East Airlines Mohamad El Hout said:
“We are happy to partner again with Panasonic Avionics. MEA’s new aircraft is equipped with the state-of-the-art inflight entertainment systems, including WiFi connectivity for the first time, reflecting the company’s ambition to provide customers with the best products the industry has to offer.”
About Middle East Airlines
Established in 1945, Middle East Airlines is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has brought air travel to a virtual standstill.
Regarded as being one of the regions significant airlines MEA used to fly pre-coronavirus to 32 international destinations from its base at Rafik Hariri International Airport (BEY) in Beirut.
Currently, Middle East Airlines all-Airbus fleet is composed of the following aircraft according to Planespotters.net.
- 13 Airbus A320-200s
- One Airbus A321neo
- Five Airbus A330-200s
The Lebanese economy is in trouble
While Middle East Airlines seems to be in good shape, the same cannot be said for Lebanon. Primarily, a combination of the coronavirus and an economic meltdown has the country in a challenging situation. Last week the Lebanese Pound, which has an official rate of 1,507 pounds to the dollar, reached more than 9,000 pounds to the dollar on the black market. Additionally, it shows no sign of stabilizing without intervention.
Altogether, what do you think about MEA getting a new Airbus A321neo? Will you be flying with the airline soon? Please tell us what you think in the comments.