History of the Middle East Airlines (MEA) Livery Design

Middle East Airlines – Air Liban S.A.L. is the national flag-carrier airline of Lebanon, with its head office in Beirut, near Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport. It operates scheduled international flights to Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Middle East Airlines (MEA) is a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance, the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). 

Middle East Airlines was founded on 31 May 1945 by Saeb Salam and Fawzi EL-Hoss with operational and technical support from BOAC. Operations started on 1 January 1946 using three de Havilland DH.89A Dragon Rapides on flights between Beirut and Nicosia, followed by flights to Iraq, Egypt, and Syria. Two Douglas DC-3s were acquired in mid-1946. Pan American World Airways acquired a stake and management contract in September 1949.

The earliest livery design we can talk about dates back to the 60s. This probably is the only livery design using one dominant color through 90% of the aircraft with the red strip and sans serif typography. However, the icon on the tail resorts to the cedar tree colors of green and brown. Although the livery design springs out modern for today's design world with straight forward and simple typography, the icon however screams Mad Men era, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The livery that ran from the 70s till the mid-90s is without doubt our favorite. The icon seems more mature and a lot more simple than today's cedar tree icon. The retro 70's flat icon and big bold sans serif typography work better for today's technology as the thin slabs on the current logo used today are unfriendly in small sizes on our iPhone and iPad screens.

The new A321neo livery design uses curves that break the rigidness of retro designs. However, we are lost again with the cedar tree on the tail which seems to be sliced in half. The red, green, and blue from the identity seem more "cemented" in the design than ever, with the blue no longer shying away from the overall design.

Share