Thursday 28th October, 2021
Muharraq, Bahrain: The turnkey solutions provider of comprehensive airport and aviation services in Bahrain, MENA Aerospace Enterprises, is launching a new division – MENA Cargo.
The Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications’ Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA) department has officially awarded an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) to MENA Cargo, which sits under the MAE Aircraft Management WLL branch of MENA Aerospace Enterprises WLL.
This means that MENA Cargo is now officially open for business, as its personnel, assets and systems have been approved to begin commercial operations.
MENA Cargo is the newest dedicated full-service cargo airline to enter the MENA region, and the third freighter operator in The Kingdom of Bahrain.
The timing is opportune; demand for air cargo is surging, mainly due to increasing global e-commerce, and there is a simultaneous capacity shortage, partly because so many passenger planes remain grounded.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), international operations experienced 8.6% growth in air cargo demand this August, compared to August 2019 levels. Middle Eastern carriers alone saw international cargo volumes rise by 15.4%. Meanwhile, international capacity shrunk by 5.1%.
Although coronavirus pandemic shutdowns diminished many aviation companies, MENA Aerospace Enterprises’ Leadership made the decision to expand the Group’s services by establishing the new cargo airline in late 2020.
Overheads were kept lean during the startup phase, and the team still met training and compliance goals ahead of schedule.
Dr. Mohammed Juman, MENA Aerospace Enterprises founder and managing director, comments:
“As a group we have been well-positioned to pivot our strategy in the face of many challenges, in order to take advantage of new opportunities.
We have also been fortunate to attract top talent to shape and lead MENA Cargo; Brian Hogan and Peter Hewett are well-known in the cargo aviation world, and especially within the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia.”
MENA Cargo is set to offer both scheduled operations and opportunities for ad hoc charters.
Initially, it will operate within the GCC and India, with plans to soon expand into North and Eastern Africa. Assets and operations are structured to offer maximum flexibility for adding international markets according to clients’ needs.
Air Cargo is a premium service. IATA data shows that airlines transport more than 35% of global trade by value, but less than 1% of trade by volume. WorldACD reports a 10% hike in the worldwide average USD rate in the five weeks ending September 19th.
Nevertheless, delivering cost savings to customers - by streamlining processes, using the latest technologies, and optimising the fleet and network - is a priority.
The operating cost within the logistics sector is 45% lower in Bahrain compared to neighbouring markets, according to the KPMG 2019 report ‘Cost of Doing Business in Logistics.’
Brian Hogan, accountable manager for MENA Cargo, states:
“Our goal is to support the markets within the Middle East, as well as the evolving niche markets in the African region and beyond, by working together with local and global partners.
We aim to be the most efficient operation in the region, with the added benefit of facilitating broader economic growth.
This will be achieved by offering key strategic routes that are currently underserved by other carriers, and also through our ability to provide charter solutions.”
MENA Cargo will enable the swift delivery of products across a range of categories: from industrial shipments such as vehicles and oversized machinery; to time-sensitive shipments like pharmaceuticals, fresh flowers and live animals; and high-security shipments involving high value or dangerous goods.
It is not just investors and customers who will benefit from MENA Cargo’s launch. The increased capacity and flexibility that MENA Cargo brings should give a boost to manufacturers and traders in Bahrain and beyond.
This development aligns with the priorities laid out in Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030. The nation has been capitalising on its geographic proximity to multiple continents by positioning itself as a global logistics nexus.
The Bahrain Global Sea-Air Logistics Hub was launched last month. It is the fastest regional multi-modal logistics hub in the Middle East, saving customers time and cost.
Thus, MENA Cargo both benefits from and contributes to Bahrain’s sophisticated logistics ecosystem.
Peter Hewett, MENA Cargo director of ground operations and procurement, says:
“The MENA Cargo team comprises an experienced aviation management cadre supported by an enthusiastic staff, all of whom embody the core principles of having a can-do attitude and paying attention to details.”
MENA Cargo currently has one Boeing 737-300 converted freighter, with a payload capacity of up to 17,000kgs, in its fleet. It is in final discussions to secure a second. Furthermore, negotiations have begun for an additional Boeing 737 NG cargo aircraft, which would offer an increased payload with an extended operating range.
The MENA Aerospace Group will be participating in the upcoming Dubai Airshow from the 14th to the 18th of November.