Conflict costs MEA

Lebanese flag carrier Middle East Airlines (MEA) incurred $45 million in losses during the eight weeks it was forced to move its hub from Beirut to Amman in neighbouring Jordan. MEA, which operated out of Amman from mid-July to early September due to the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict and subsequent air and sea blockade of Lebanon, is asking Arab airports to assist by reducing fees.

EgyptAir's regional move

EgyptAir is establishing a regional subsidiary to operate a new fleet of at least six Embraer 170 aircraft. EgyptAir Express will launch in April 2007 and serve domestic and regional markets.

EasyJet sets up Madrid base

EasyJet is establishing a base at Madrid Barajas next February with three Airbus A319s. The UK budget carrier already links Madrid with nine cities and will launch at least six new routes.

Malta attracts Ryanair

Malta's government has succeeded to attract low-cost carriers through an initiative offering five years of financial support. Ryanair will begin serving the island at the end of October from London Luton and Pisa with a Dublin service to follow in February. Malta also has decided to back a proposal from easyJet to serve the island from London Luton and Basle but the carrier has not yet set a launch date.

New terminal for Gibraltar

Gibraltar will be incorporated into European Union (EU) aviation regulations following a tripartite agreement with Spain and the UK that also includes the construction of a new airport terminal. The territory had been excluded from EU measures because of British-Spanish wrangling over its sovereignty.

TAP sells charter operation

TAP Portugal has sold its charter operation White to Portuguese aviation services company Omni Aviacao for $6.5 million. White launched operations last year with two aircraft but only one, a leased Airbus A310, is included in the sale. Meanwhile, Star Alliance member TAP has restarted talks to acquire a stake in Portugalia, an associate member of rival SkyTeam.

Source: Airline Business