TMA were pioneers of worldwide airfreight, being the first cargo airline to operate a scheduled round-the-world flight in the 60s and 70s: Beirut, India, Japan, across the US to JFK
, Basel, Beirut. One of the first airlines to fly the 747F etc.
During the Lebanese civil war the airline managed to keep flying (somehow), but like MEA
, it's darkest hours came in the 90s after the war was over and Lebanon wasn't much more than a burned out shell. While MEA
, and the nation, rebuilt and reinvented itself, TMA struggled, despite opening new routes (Shanghai, Nagoya) and getting a (horrid) new livery. I don't think the airline is currently flying, except possibly with some wetleased white 707 from time to time. There is a shot that has appeared on this forum a few times of the TMA jetbase at Beirut, and it's a sad sight - firstly because it shows how high the airline flew, since I can't think of another cargo airline that has it's own base with it's own hangars etc, and secondly cos it's falling apart now, with a few letters from the name missing: TRANS MEDITER ANE N.
Hope they get it together, the Lebanese have been trading with the world for about four thousand years (Phoenicians etc) and should have their own cargo airline. TMA are especially cool - their pioneering history in the Paris of the Middle East (60s and 70s) makes them a kind of Flying Tigers meets Austin Powers, with their old Braniff-inspired livery (literally - some of their 707s came from BN
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz