Beirut or Bust Another 707 Adventure by Henry Tenby
Airways Magazine, May-June 1995
Having flown several sectors on LAP Paraguay’s Boeing 707 in 1992, I was determined to visit Beirut and experience MEA’s Boeing 707 and 720 operation first hand. At the time, Lebanon’s flag carrier MEA (Middle East Airlines) was the world’s largest operator of Boeing 707 and 720 classics.
Having established contact with the airline via representatives at their Toronto Sales office, and plans were set for me to spend a few days visiting the airline to document their operation. In September of 1994, the best MEA 707 flight options into Beirut were from Istanbul and Athens, and it was more convenient for me travel on Swissair to Athens via Zurich to start the trip.
During my three days in Beirut, MEA’s public relation manager assisted me in interviewing and photographing extensively. I was also able to shoot video of my visit which is available as a top selling aviation DVD. It was also an interesting time to visit Beirut, as the civil war had recently ended and the remnants of that conflict were widespread.
One of the highlights of the visit was my invitation to the Beirut airport control tower exterior patio to watch an MEA Boeing 720 bash the circuit during a crew training session. It was magical, and the whole visit is documented in detail in the following article.