Middle East Airlines – Air Liban, the national carrier of Lebanon, will sign an agreement on February 28 to officially start the process of...

Middle East Airlines – Air Liban (MEA), the national carrier of Lebanon, will sign an agreement on February 28 to officially start the process of joining the SkyTeam alliance in 2012.

MEA is the second carrier from the Middle East this month to have announced its forthcoming membership in the SkyTeam alliance.

According to SkyTeam, the alliance’s customers will benefit from MEA’s membership by seeing increased access to and from the Middle East and Western Africa.

From its home base at Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, Middle East Airlines flies to 30 international destinations in Europe, Middle East and West Africa. Since 2003 the airline has been involved in an ambitious fleet renewal program, adding four Airbus A330-200s and acquiring six A321s and six A320s to reconstitute its fleet.

Middle East Airlines Airbus A321-200 F-ORMF lands at London Heathrow Airport

SkyTeam says welcoming MEA to the process of becoming a full member is a significant step for the alliance towards enhancing its global network. The alliance says it is actively working to strengthen its presence in the Middle East, which it regards one of the world’s most important economic regions.

MEA has continued to improve its products and services to customers ever since it completed a thorough restructuring plan destined to modernize and restructure the airline, according to SkyTeam. Key elements of MEA’s restructuring plan included fleet renewal and rationalization; increasing the density of the airline’s European, Middle East and West African network; and improving service quality and consistency.

In the past year SkyTeam has made significant progress in attracting new members. In 2010 China Eastern and its daughter company Shanghai Airlines, China Airlines, Garuda Indonesia and Aerolineas Argentinas all confirmed their future membership in SkyTeam.

Then, in January this year, Saudi Arabian Airlines became the first member from the Middle East to announce its membership. Adding MEA as the second member from this region complements the network offer to SkyTeam customers and illustrates the continuing global expansion that SkyTeam accelerated last year.