brightcedars
Posts: 751
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2004 6:18 pm

Any Details On The History Of TMA Cargo Of Lebanon

Fri Nov 12, 2004 8:30 pm

TMA = Trans Mediterranean Air-ish

A couple years ago I had a large shipment of Belgian chocolates being flown from BRU to BEY and they flew onboard a TMA Cargo 707 from AMS.

I'm wondering about this TMA. How long has it been around? Is it still around (the word grounding comes to mind, I don't know why)? Did it do something else than cargo (i.e. pax) at one point in it's life? TMA is a catchy name so they could have been an operator of scheduled or charter flights. Any fleet news if they're still alive?

Their website, http://www.tma.com.lb does provide some information but it's not clear when it was last updated, some goes for the press releases (not dated).
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cedarjet
Posts: 8130
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 1:12 am

RE: Any Details On The History Of TMA Cargo Of Lebanon

Fri Nov 12, 2004 9:10 pm

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).

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