SAS has opted to keep its route between the Danish and Lebanese capitals summer-only, but Middle East Airlines is going all year.
The connection between Beirut and Copenhagen offered by Middle East Airlines will become year-round, leaving SAS to keep it summertime-only.
SAS reopened its route between the Danish and Lebanese capitals just this spring, but it will be shut down during the winter season, from November 17 until March 9 next year.
This development appears to be behind Middle East Airlines, also known as MEA, opting to extend its own flights between Beirut and Copenhagen to the winter traffic program, Check-In.dk speculates.
Beirut’s national flag carrier will fly the route three times a week until March 30, with an Airbus A320, on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
This complements the just over 30 routes that the airline operates from Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport to destinations in the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
SAS flew Copenhagen-Beirut every Saturday in its first season, while in peak season from July 3 to August 21 there were three weekly departures.
It is not only local traffic that has been attractive to SAS, as many Lebanese residing in the United States have used SAS flights via Copenhagen to reach the Lebanese capital.
During the first nine months of 2018, 24,747 passengers used scheduled flights between the Danish and Lebanese capitals, as opposed to 13,684 during the same period the year before. So the number of passengers effectively doubled with two airlines on the route.
When SAS last flew Copenhagen-Beirut 12 years ago, there were about 27,000 passengers per year on the route, but in recent years – until 2018 – as Middle East Airlines operated the route in a relatively short summer season with a significant proportion of ethnic traffic, there were just under 10,000 passengers a year.