by MENA Cargo

MENA Cargo Marks Start of Commercial Operations

Bahrain to serve as MENA Cargo hub, with operational expansion to Saudi Arabia and South East Asia.

Thursday, 4th November, 2021

Muharraq, Bahrain: MENA Aerospace Enterprises virtually welcomed members of the international aviation and logistics trade press yesterday to a digital event at its Muharraq headquarters. The event was held to introduce MENA Cargo in detail, now that it is fully commercially operational as of November 1st.

Presenting at the event were:

  • 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.
  • Peter Hewett, General Manager of MAE Aircraft Management WLL.

Also joining the panel for the question and answer portion of proceedings were:

  • Anil Kumar, Acting General Manager of Mena Aerospace Enterprises WLL, Group CFO, and Board Member for MAE Aircraft Management WLL,
  • Omar Matar, Accountable Manager of MAE Aircraft Management WLL and Chair of the Regulatory Oversight Committee.

The Vision

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. Certification was completed in October 2021.

Dr. Mohammed Juman says: “We want to be part of the supply chain services provided by our clients… This is another unique service that MENA Aerospace provides, in addition to all the other unique services that we have provided in our 15 years of operation.”

“I’m happy to have a team of International experts that have been helping us throughout this period, plus the local teams and the regional teams who have been instrumental in getting us to where we are today.”

“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.”

The Kingdom of Bahrain is positioning itself as a Global Logistics Nexus, taking advantage of its geographic proximity to myriad growing markets. 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.

Therefore, MENA Cargo both benefits from and contributes to Bahrain’s sophisticated logistics ecosystem.

The Launch

The MENA Cargo strategy is based on the principles of efficiency, flexibility, and agility. Various options for growth are being continually assessed, so that at each stage of expansion, resources can be allocated to maximise opportunities as they arise.

Brian Hogan says: “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.”

“I think the value added we have is we have a brand new team, a very diverse team of international players, and we’re looking at it from an IT perspective, and prioritising remaining very agile moving forwards.”

Peter Hewett says: “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.”

The Partnerships

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.

The Markets

Dr. Mohammed Juman says: “The next market that we are focusing on right now is the Saudi Arabian market. We’re also looking at the SE Asian market, and the third market involves feeding international services into the regional markets of Africa.”

Key trade lanes identified for maximising air cargo carrier connectivity include:

  • Nigeria for West Africa
  • Hong Kong for Asia
  • East Coast USA
  • Mainly Saudi Arabia for Middle East

The Fleet

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 17,000kgs, in its fleet. It is in final discussions to secure a second within a year.

As part of our strategic partnership, we have 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 we have 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 tons 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.

Brian Hogan says: “critical mass of 15-20 aircraft”

The Technology

Being a SMART Airline is a core value.

Three key technology partners at this stage are Laminaar Aviation Infotech, Awery Aviation Software, and Unilode. Outside providers are being consulted in the interests of saving time and money, and also ensuring that integration with other softwares is facilitated down the line.

The goal of the technology platform is to streamline costs for everyone by removing unnecessary middlemen from the enquiries and bookings processes, while also enhancing the level of service provided by seamlessly integrating communications and followup on the back end. Ultimately, the goal is to seamlessly interface with other stakeholders’ technology platforms.

Operational Systems and Software have started to be integrated into Mena Cargo which covers the following operational areas:

  • Operational Control Centre (OCC): ARMS application software suite allows for seamless interactivity in real-time for flight operations, maintenance, crewing, safety, quality and analytics.
  • Cargo Reservation & Management: An Aviation Software Platform is an integrated web-based application that extremely flexible and customized to manage aviation business processes from cargo, maintenance, ERP and Finance./li>
  • Cargo Unit Load Device (ULD) Management: Unilode is a Company where we lease the equipment that cargo is loaded on and through their own IT systems, they manage the stock in accordance with the schedule and any charter request along with the repair and replacement. This concept is a cost effective for the company.

The new dedicated website and booking system will be launched before the end of this year, and we will send out a News Alert with more information at that time.

Meet with MENA Cargo at Dubai Airshow

The MENA Aerospace Group will be participating in The Dubai Airshow for the fifth consecutive time from November 14th to 18th at Stand Number 460.

  • 4th November 2021
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