Mena Cargo, a new cargo airline with Bahrain as its hub and planned operational expansion to Saudi Arabia and South East Asia, started commercial operations from November 1.
The key strategic objective will be serving markets throughout Mena Cargo’s global network together with support from global cargo integrators, cargo freight agents, cargo charter requests and logistic suppliers.
Mena Cargo aims to complement the other large air cargo operators in the region, working with them rather than against them as direct competitors.
“We’ve looked at the regional markets; where is the growth, where are the gates to the global markets. The growth we’ve seen is mainly in the Gulf area, Africa and SE Asia. So, our thought process was, let’s try to link these markets and let’s serve these markets,” said Dr Mohammed Juman, Mena Aerospace Enterprises Founder and Managing Director.
Brian Hogan, Board Member of Mena Aerospace Enterprises WLL and MAE Aircraft Management WLL, and Business Development Independent Director, said: “Clearly, we are in the right place at the right time. Cargo is going through the roof… if we had more planes now we think we could fly them continuously 24 hours a day.”
“We think we’ll have the opportunity to partner with a lot of operators out there with their passenger aircraft in the meantime as a bridge [until more aircraft are added to the fleet].”
“The strategy is simple but complicated: we can use Bahrain as our hub, have 3-4 aircraft here, move into Saudi, and then move into South East Asia. We haven’t decided yet, but the hub in SE Asia could be Thailand, Singapore or Malaysia,” said Hogan.
Peter Hewett, General Manager of MAE Aircraft Management WLL, said: “The vision is very clear. We are a new entrant into the Bahrain market as a cargo carrier, but we are not a new entrant to the industry, because we have a vast amount of experience within the team.”
“We’re going to take that experience and expand it through different stages of our growth; which will include our IT development, the business development, and also the expansion across the network. The three hubs that we’re looking at across the network actually link together, so it makes this a seamless business model.”
Key trade lanes identified for maximising air cargo carrier connectivity include:
• Nigeria for West Africa;
• Hong Kong for Asia;
• East Coast USA; and
• Mainly Saudi Arabia for Middle East.
All aircraft are on operating leases. Mena Cargo has not ruled out purchasing aircraft in the future.
Mena Cargo currently has one Boeing 737-300 converted freighter, with a payload capacity of up to 17,000 kgs, in its fleet. It is in final discussions to secure a second within a year.
As part of its strategic partnership, the airline has entered into a one-year charter agreement with Euro Atlantic for a Boeing 777-200ER which is P2F type aircraft, with the likelihood of more aircraft being added soon.
Additionally it has access to a 767-300ER is currently being used on an ad hoc basis, but Mena Cargo is looking at options to take this on for a longer period of time.
Furthermore, negotiations have begun for an additional Boeing 737 NG cargo aircraft, which would offer an increased payload with an extended operating range.
To serve the Bahrain market, a Boeing 737-8F with a capacity of up to 22 tonnes will be added by January. A further two aircraft of this type are expected to be added to the fleet in the second and third quarters next year.
The makeup of the fleet will be continually adapted to best serve demand and emerging opportunities. In particular, additional aircraft will be added in the medium term in order to service the Saudi Arabian and South East Asian markets and capitalise on the huge growth of e-commerce occurring throughout the world.


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