Air Arabia on Wednesday announced plans to launch a new low-cost carrier with a partner in Egypt and to open its third hub, with Europe and Africa as its main destinations.
The Sharjah-based airline, the first and largest low-cost carrier in the Middle East and North Africa, and Egypt-based travel company Travco Group have formed a joint venture to start the new carrier, to be based in Egypt.
“Egypt has a number of International Airports and we aim to operate from as many as we can. By operating from several Airports, we will be able to boost up travel and offer passengers the choice to reach their final destination,” Air Arabia Chief Executive Officer Adel Ali told Khaleej Times. “The new carrier will serve Europe, Middle East and Africa markets and will represent Air Arabia’s third hub after the UAE and Morocco.”
The aviation sector received a strong blow in 2008 first from rising oil prices, then from the global economic crisis.
“We would like to start as soon as we can. We have finalised the legal agreement and we are now looking at the operational requirements,” Ali said.
Established in 2003, the carrier has a fleet of 20 Airbus A320 aircraft and has placed an order for 44 more of it.
“The new carrier will operate same type of Aircraft operated by Air Arabia Group, the Airbus A320 model. Air Arabia Group will best allocate the aircraft order and number for this hub. The new carrier will follow Air Arabia existing practices of operating new aircraft and organically grow fleet size,” he said.
Building upon Air Arabia’s existing services to 57 destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, the new airline will contribute to the on-going development of the Egyptian travel and tourism sector as well as offer a larger base of customer best value for money air travel.
In May of this year, the airline launched its second hub at the Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca, currently providing service to 11 destinations across Europe and North Africa.
The airline declared a 10 per cent rise in its second-quarter net profit to Dh90 million last month. Its shares rose 3 per cent to Dh1.08 on Wednesday.