Emirates is celebrating its 30th anniversary of service to Beirut. The airline launched its first flight in 1991, and since then, the airline has carried over 6 million passengers on over 35,000 flights between Dubai and Beirut, supporting the country’s tourism industry, growing trade lanes, and bringing Lebanese culture and traditions to the world.
Commemorating this significant moment, Emirates Regional Manager in the Levant, Tamador Dallal Kouatly, who has been with the airline in Lebanon since the start of operations reflects on the airline’s journey in the country within the last 30 years: “Throughout Emirates’ 30 years of operating to Beirut, our commitment to our customers has only grown stronger. We remain focused on delivering the best onboard comfort and hospitality, innovative technology that makes the journey easier and unparalleled connections to Dubai and beyond to connect Lebanon to the world, especially with its diaspora communities. We are thrilled our customers continue to reward us with their loyalty, allowing us to celebrate three decades of service in a key market like Lebanon.We look forward to continuing to serve the country, its communities and its people for the years to come.”
Three decades after the first flight, Emirates employees who were part of the launch team recall the early days, and how they have grown with the airline:
Emirates, Deputy Airport Service Manager in Beirut, Marguerite Keyrouz, says, “I distinctly remember the pride I felt wearing the Emirates uniform and the excitement for the adventure ahead, and being in awe of the power of the aircraft landing in our airport, all feelings I have until this day. I am happy to see returning passengers, as they choose Emirates as their airline of choice, which motivates us to always provide the best service and experience.”
Raghida Zarkout, Emirates Airport Services Officer in Beirut says: “I still remember the first day at the airport, I recall my heart beating louder than the engines as the aircraft parked and we welcomed our first passengers. As the airline has grown over the past 30 years, I have also grown in my profession and can’t think of a better team and company to be a part of.”
To celebrate the occasion, Emirates has served traditional Lebanese dishes inspired by home on its route between Dubai and Beirut in the coming days, such as the Lamb Maklouba, and Barramundi Sayadieh. A signature sweet confection will round off the savoury mains with a strawberry Kunafa Fark, the airline’s rendition of a traditional Kunafa and Baklava Ashta, both adorned with the Lebanese flag. In addition, on Emirates’ menus across the network, Middle Eastern appetizers with Lebanese influence like hot and cold mezzes hummus, tabbouleh and mutable, are served in First and Business Class.
In March 2018, Emirates flagship double-decker aircraft became the first-ever scheduled A380 to arrive at Rafic Al Hariri International Airport, marking a historic moment for both the airline and the airport.