- The 135 million USD JV operations started with two aircrafts and plans are on track to deploy up to five by the end of the year -

MANAMA, Bahrain, Feb. 20, 2023 -- Southeast Asia's leading air cargo charter services provider, the Asia Cargo Network (ACN) group, and MENA Aerospace, a Bahraini aviation services provider, announced the start of their operations in the MENA region from the Kingdom of Bahrain.

As part of its growth plan, ACN placed an investment worth 135 million USD 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.

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.

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

On this occasion, Iman Marco, MAE Aircraft Management – Managing Director commented: "We are excited to start our MENA operations in Bahrain. The Kingdom's advanced infrastructure and its strategic location at the crossroads between Asia, Africa, and Europewill 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 percent from 4.7% percent.