MEA Boeing 707: On Board & in Beirut


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Throughout the Lebanese civil war, Lebanon’s flag-carrier airline MEA Boeing 707 kept flying, while almost everything else On Board & in Beirut was destroyed. Most would have thought that Middle East Airlines, like the country it serves, should have gone out of business.

This show examines the story behind MEA’s remarkable survival, with on-location action footage of MEA Boeing 707 and Boeing 720 aircraft shot at Athens, Beirut and Larnaca Airport, as well as once-in-a-lifetime flights aboard these historic aircraft. Exterior and interior footage of 707 air-starts (one engine at a time), taxiing, take-off, passenger cabin and cockpit, and landings will bring back the memories of what it was like to fly as a passenger on a MEA Boeing 707!

In September, 1994, with MEA’s assistance, airline videographer Henry Tenby traveled to Beirut to visit the airline and document their current day operation, which was then, one of the world’s last, passenger MEA Boeing 707 operations.

MEA retired the last Boeing 707 in 1997, but their memory lives on forever in this show, dedicated to the many MEA employees responsible for the company’s survival. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your MEA flights On Board & in Beirut!


Athens – Beirut Sep 8/94
Beirut Airport – Hotel Sep 8/94
Hotel – Beirut Airport Sep 9/94
Beirut – Larnaca Sep 9/94
Larnaca, Cyprus Sep 9/94
Larnaca – Beirut Sep 9/94
Beirut Airport Sep 9/94
Beirut Airport Sep 10/94
MEA 720 crew training Sep 10/94
Beirut – Athens Sep 10/94
MEA 707 departs Athens Sep 10/94
MEA 707 DVD Preview

6 Responses to “MEA Boeing 707: On Board & in Beirut”

  1. <path_to_url> FOUAD M FALLATAH

    That’s was amazing, I just loved it.

    It’s nice to see history combined with aviation. It’s sad to see the aftermath of the civil war but the Lebanese were tougher & came through to build their country again & kept MEA going to this day.

    It was so brave of you to be there in the first place.

    Thanks a lot

    • <path_to_url> htenbyslide

      Hello Fouad, Great to hear you enjoyed this show. The country has sure changed a lot in the past 20 years since I was there to film this piece. I am glad you enjoyed my adding in an historical component to my video. AT the time of my visit, I recall the hostilities had been over for perhaps a few years. But of course things were still dicey as the country was far from being on an even keel. Seeing all the blown out buildings in the city centre is something I will always remember. When I returned ten years later the city was pretty much fully restored. And of course MEA and their Boeing 707s and 720s. What an amazing operation. I shall never forget the morning of my departure from Beirut back to Athens. They were doing crew training in a Boeing 720 were bashing circuits .. one touch and go after another. It is a shame I was taking mostly colour slides instead of shooting it all on video. Oh well. At least we have what we have. Thank you again Fouad. Cheers, Henry

  2. <path_to_url> Carl Haluss

    This is absolutely fascinating for me! In the early 70s, I flew from LHR to BEY on the MEA 707, then a few days later from BEY to ZRH on the Boeing 720. That was a long time ago, but I remember the excellent service. Rather haphazard boarding, I remember, no seat selection, and they were full flights. Nevertheless, I was in my early 20s, so things like that didn’t really bother me. I was just excited!

    • <path_to_url> Henry Tenby

      Hi Carl, This is great to hear! You flew on them twenty years before I did. You are so lucky to have had those flights. I will never forget seeing the apron at Beirut airport loaded with 707s and 720s during my visit. And seeing them do crew training with the MEA 720 was just incredible. I wish I shot even more video that what I did, but I am grateful for what I got. By any chance did you take any slides or photos from your early 1970s MEA flights … as I would love to see them. By the way .. welcome aboard JetFlix! It is great to have you here.

  3. <path_to_url> Carl Haluss

    Well done, indeed! Thanks for the incredible history of MEA during the troubled times, and the amazing people who kept the airline running.RIP those brave souls who didn’t make it. Lots of work, too, on editing all that footage. I never get tired of listening to those engines, especially at the beginning with the air start.

    • <path_to_url> Henry Tenby

      You are a true connoisseur I must say! Young people today never experienced the air start of a JT3 or Rolls Royce Conway engine. So they don’t have a clue as to how fabulous it was hearing these engines wind up. If you head over the Classic Jetliners 1960s video and watch the TCA DC-8 segment, they have live footage of the Conway engine start with the starters howling away as each engine launches to life. It is really amazing to watch this as it was not faked in a sound studio. It is the real deal, they filmed in the cockpit an actual Conway engine start. Music to the ears, and brings back amazing memories from decades ago. The way things were.

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