The Airbus 330-200 currently deployed on one of Beirut’s two daily flights, EK 953/954, will be upgraded to a larger Boeing 777-200LR from 1 June, giving a 12% boost to seat capacity.
Similarly, the A330-200 supporting EK 957/958 will be up-gauged to a Boeing 777-300 as of 1 January 2016, providing a 53% increase in the number of seats available to customers.
Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Centre said: “Lebanon is one of our most important markets in the Middle East so we are constantly seeking ways to enhance our services, while responding to healthy passenger demand. Both upgrades to our services will open up more seats to our customers travelling to and from Beirut and will boost Emirates’ contribution to Lebanon’s vital tourism industry, which is the backbone of its economy. The enhanced services and increased capacity will also expand Lebanese businesses’ access to global markets, yielding benefits to the country’s economic output.”
He added: “We believe the up-gauges will also provide us the increased ability to serve demand from the Lebanese diaspora around the world, including the large Lebanese expatriate community in the UAE, who will benefit from our enhanced product offering when they go home to visit friends and family.”
The UAE is home to almost 150,000 Lebanese residents, which form one of its largest expatriate communities. Additionally, over 1,500 Lebanese businesses operate in Jebel Ali Free Zone, supporting a trade relationship between Lebanon and the UAE that is estimated to be over AED 4 billion, according to the UAE Ministry of Economy.