The Kenya-based freight company is making Sharjah Airport its hub in the Middle East

Astral Aviation, a Kenya-based cargo airline, has started operating flights to Sharjah Airport from its hub in Nairobi.
Photo credit: Delivered

Dubai: Astral Aviation, a Kenya-based cargo airline, has started operating flights to Sharjah Airport from its hub in Nairobi. The airline operates two flights a week on the route with Boeing 767 aircraft.

Sharjah Airport was chosen for its “strategic location” as well as services such as handling shipments that require certain temperatures and contain food products, and the storage and handling of pharmaceuticals and healthcare products, the company said in a statement.

“Sharjah Airport continues to attract new airlines and routes like Astral Aviation, cementing our leading position as an international freight hub,” said Ali Midfa, chairman of the Sharjah Airport Authority.

First hub in the Middle East

With this route, Sharjah Airport became Astral’s first air transport hub in the region.

“We will provide a scheduled perishable goods service from East Africa to Sharjah for the UAE region, while on return, Astral’s China and UAE consolidations will be relocated from Sharjah to Nairobi for another connection to the inner-African one Astral network, “said Sanjeev Gadhia, founder and CEO of Astral Aviation, said.

“The launch of the new freight service between Kenya and the United Arab Emirates will lead to increased trade and new opportunities between the private sector with direct connectivity that will benefit both countries,” he added.

Freight is the way

The cargo business has done relatively better for aviation industry players since the beginning of the pandemic.

Many airlines use grounded passenger jets to carry life-saving medical supplies, food and, more recently, COVID-19 vaccines.

“Airfreight was an important source of income for many airlines in 2020 despite weaker demand. Airfreight survived the crisis better than the passenger side,” said Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA, in a statement earlier this month.

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