ACN-Mena Aerospace start $135mln JV ops from Bahrain

Southeast Asia's leading air cargo charter, Asia Cargo Network (ACN) group, and Mena Aerospace, a Bahraini aviation services provider, have started their $135 million joint venture operations in the Mena region from Bahrain.

The ACN-MEA strategic partnership deployed two units of B737-300F aircraft that are currently in operations across the Mena continents connecting the GCC and Africa.

The Bahraini operator says that plans are on track to end the year with five additional freighter aircraft made up of few units of B737-800F and B767-300F aircraft that will provide the connectivity between the Middle East, Africa, all of Asia and European markets.

Cargo activities

These long-range wide body B767-300F aircraft will increase Bahrain airport's cargo activities with transshipments from all over the world while the regional distribution is performed with the operator's own narrow body freighters.

As part of its growth plan, ACN placed the investment to become the biggest shareholder in MAE Aircraft Management (the aircraft and management division of Mena Aerospace) with a 49% stake during the 2022 edition of the Bahrain International Airshow.

The partnership operations will be under the Mena Cargo brand, the freight cargo subsidiary of MAE, and will be fully managed by ACN moving forward as it holds an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) in Bahrain which allows for the expansion of routes to the Mena region.

Regional hub

The partnership is targeting to become the main cargo operator and develop extensive network cargo flights within the region to support the growing demands and enhance Bahrain airport's presence as a regional hub.

Iman Marco, MAE Aircraft Management – Managing Director commented: "The kingdom's advanced infrastructure and its strategic location at the crossroads between Asia, Africa, and Europe will play a vital role in ACN's growth plans to expand and serve our customers in the Mena region and beyond."

Ahmed Sultan, Executive Director for Business Development of Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics at Bahrain Economic Development Board said: "We are pleased to see key transport and logistics players call Bahrain home to benefit from the kingdom's competitive advantages such as our free trade agreements with 22 countries, best-value operating costs for a logistics business in the region, superb infrastructure, and strong connectivity by air, land and sea."

The logistics sector is a priority sector under the kingdom's Economic Recovery Plan, which aims to position Bahrain as one of the top 20 global destinations for logistic services and increase the sector's GDP contribution in 2030 to 10% from 4.7%.



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