Lebanon’s national carrier acquired a new Airbus A330-200 in May and aims to add a further nine aircraft to its fleet over the next two years at a cost of around $450m.

These acquisitions will be made on a staggered basis as the company reviews the country’s political stability and its economy to see whether they justify further fleet expansion.

Mohammad el-Hout, chairman of MEA, who signed the loan agreement, says the $65m covered close to 80 per cent of the original value of the new plane.

He adds that the company aims to continue its policy of financing new aircraft deals solely through Lebanese institutions.