MIDDLE EAST: TMA re-launches cargo ops at Rafik Hariri airport

Trans Mediterranean Airlines (TMA), Lebanon’s only air cargo carrier, officially launched its operations recently following a six year hiatus using one A300F aircraft. Chairman of the restructured company, Mazen al-Bsat, pledged to increase the two weekly flights to Europe and one to the UAE. Established in 1953, TMA was the first cargo airline in Lebanon […]


Trans Mediterranean Airlines (TMA), Lebanon’s only air cargo carrier, officially launched its operations recently following a six year hiatus using one A300F aircraft. Chairman of the restructured company, Mazen al-Bsat, pledged to increase the two weekly flights to Europe and one to the UAE. Established in 1953, TMA was the first cargo airline in Lebanon and the Middle East at that time, but the company’s fleet was grounded in mid- 2005 after Middle East Airlines (MEA) decided to ferry cargo in its new fleet of Airbuses, eventually prompting TMA’s management to suspend all operations. A new owner acquired TMA in 1993 but the company continued to record heavy losses despite attempts to restructure.

Bsat said that TMA was considered one the largest cargo airlines in the world but added that the civil war and successive security events had dealt a blow to the company. “We are today resurrecting the company because we realise that the private sector is the engine of the economy,” he said according to a report in The Daily Star. TMA is currently making two weekly flights to Europe and one to the UAE and the management hopes to increase the flights to Europe to four times a week. On hand for the official launch at the Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport was Lebanese Transport and Public Works Minister Ghazi Aridi, who praised the move to get TMA airborne again, saying that the launch of TMA’s flights was a sign that “the Lebanese are not willing to give up hope on the future of the country.”