MIAMI – As part of the expansion of its services to the United Arab Emirates, Astral Aviation (8V) has joined forces with Sharjah International Airport (SHJ) Cargo Center to create a hub and increase its penetration on the Middle East cargo market.

According to a press release published by the SHJ Authority, SHJ was chosen for its strategic location and specialistic services linked to the handling of perishables and medical supplies according to the highest industry standards.

By Fadi Fayad Al Taoba, CC BY 3.0,

New Middle East Hub

Speaking of SHJ as an 8V Middle East hub, Mr. Sanjeev Gadhia, founder and CEO of the African carrier said, “We are truly honored to enter into an agreement with Sharjah Airport which will become Astral’s Middle Eastern Hub, and its third global hub after Nairobi, Kenya, and Liege, Belgium.”

Astral shall provide scheduled cargo services for perishables from East Africa to SHJ and the UAE. On the return leg, while carrying goods from China to the UAE, Astral shall transport cargo originating from SHJ and the UAE to it base in Nairobi (NBO) for onward African destinations.

Astral Aviation B767-200F 5Y-SNL – Photo: Astral Aviation

A Profitable Partnership for Sharjah and Astral Aviation

His Excellency Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Airport Authority, commented on the partnership by saying, “Sharjah Airport continues to attract new airlines and routes, such as Astral Aviation, which cements our leading position as an international hub for freight.”

“Agreements such as this also confirm our commitment to providing the highest international standards and practices for the air cargo sector through specialized warehousing, which has obtained CEIV accreditation from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). We look forward to employing our full logistical capabilities and working with Astral Aviation to ship COVID-19 vaccines from China to the African continent in an efficient and smooth manner.”

Astral aviation runs a fleet composed of Boeing 747-400F, 767-200F on a five-year lease from Air transport Service Group (ATSG) since October 2020, Boeing 727-200F, DC9-33F, and Fokker F27. Astral is the only African carrier with a diverse-fleet from six tons to 110 tons.

Featured image: Lorenzo Giacobbbo/Airways