MENA Cargo Airlines (MA, Bahrain International) has been awarded an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) by the Bahraini Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications and plans to launch commercial operations by the end of the year.

As part of its certification, the start-up operated its final proving flight from Bahrain International to Sharjah on October 11, 2021, and return on the next day, using its first and only aircraft, B737-300(F) A9C-MAE (msn 27710). The 25.1-year-old freighter is dry leased from Rostrum Leasing, the ch-aviation fleets ownership module shows.

"The MENA Cargo Team will have more exciting announcements, as they ramp up to full commercial operations before the end of the year... [We] will enable the swift delivery of products across a range of categories: industrial shipments (vehicles and oversized machinery) to time-sensitive shipments like pharmaceuticals, fresh flowers and live animals, and high-security shipments involving high value/dangerous goods," the airline said.

MENA Cargo Airlines plans to operate scheduled and charter operations - including long-term contracts and ad hoc operations - focusing on serving the Gulf and India. In the second phase, it will expand to Northern and Eastern Africa.

Accountable Manager Brian Hogan told ch-aviation earlier this year that the start-up was planning to add more aircraft in the coming months, including a B737-800 freighter. He did not immediately respond to ch-aviation's query about the current plan.

MENA Cargo Airlines is an affiliate of business charter and maintenance provider MENA Aerospace. Its now-upgraded certificate is based on that of MAE Aircraft Management (MA, Bahrain International).