Canada has one of the largest Lebanese communities which is composed of 660,000 people. For that reason, Air Canada wants to be able to offer direct flights from Montreal to Beirut and vice versa. The Lebanese community has been asking this from Air Canada for a long time. Actually, the Canadian carrier wished to add this flight from 2003. However, a governmental approval is necessary to be able to take further steps.
To note, Air Canada has announced the operation of a direct flight from Montreal to Lebanon in 2003. However, Ottawa has put a ban on it for security reasons. Also, the Minister of Transport in Canada Marc Garneau said that the priority of the government is to provide security to the country and the citizens. Discussions were held between Air Canada and the Canadian-Lebanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CLCCI) in Montreal. The Vice President of the CLCCI Mohamed Badreddine expressed his disappointment towards the decision that has been taken by the Canadian government. In fact, the CLCCI believes that the Montreal-Beirut route can be very beneficial to nurture the economy, the trade, and the tourism sectors in Canada and Lebanon.
MEA and Air Canada
Middle East Airlines (MEA) and Air Canada are negotiating a codeshare agreement to offer direct flights on the Beirut-Toronto route. Its approval would lead to the launch of the flights in late 2017 or early 2018. Thanks to Boeing 787, an aircraft designed for long-haul flights, the direct route is possible.