Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, a joint venture between the Air Arabia and Etihad Airways, will start operating from 14 July as the UAE’s latest low-cost carrier.
The first flights will be from Abu Dhabi to Alexandria and Sohag in Egypt and will be operated by Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’s initial fleet of two Airbus A320s.
“While the global aviation sector continues to witness unprecedented challenges due to Cvoid-19 pandemic, this step is a testament to the strength of the UAE aviation sector and our commitment to its long-term prospects,”
Adel Al Ali, group CEO for Air Arabia
Ali added: “Abu Dhabi is a major travel and tourism hub and Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will further serve this vision by positioning Abu Dhabi as a key hub in the region for low-cost travel. We look forward to expanding Air Arabia Abu Dhabi destination network as more airports open up and flights resume.”
Air Arabia Abu Dhabi was formed following an agreement by Etihad Airways and Air Arabia late last year to establish an independent joint venture that will operate as a low-cost passenger airline with Abu Dhabi International Airport as its hub.
Tony Douglas, group CEO of Etihad Aviation Group, said: “This joint venture between Etihad and Air Arabia will offer greater convenience and direct access to the UAE’s thriving capital for new markets worldwide, beginning with two key Egyptian routes, and expanding in time.”
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi
Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’s announcement comes just days after rival Wizz Air landed its first flight in the UAE’s capital ahead of its expansion into the Gulf region. Wizz Air is set to launch its new venture, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi later this year, making it the UAE’s fourth budget airline after Air Arabia, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi and flydubai.
Wizz Air’s Budapest-Abu Dhabi flight landed on 1 July and will be followed by flights from Sofia, Katowice and Cluj-Napoca in September.
Eastern Europe’s largest low-cost carrier is due to launch Wizz Air Abu Dhabi later this year, which will see the Hungarian airline look to replicate its European success in the Gulf region.
George Michalopoulos, chief commercial officer of Wizz Air, said the carrier is “committed to growing the [its] network to the capital of the UAE”.
While many airlines are pairing back their operations and networks amid the coronavirus crisis, Wizz Air’s CEO said he is looking to accelerate and expand plans to enter the Middle East market.
At the end of June, the UAE designated Wizz Air Abu Dhabi as a national carrier, joining the likes of Etihad Airways.
“If you look at what we’ve been able to achieve in the EU, we managed to grow our fleet to 100 aircraft over the last 15 years and we should be able to do the same thing in Abu Dhabi,”
Wizz Air CEO József Váradi
Váradi said in February that Wizz Air plans to operate more than 50 A321neo aircraft in the Middle East within 10 years and that number remains unchanged. “We’re going to go bigger and bigger,” the CEO states. “How quickly will largely depend on the regulatory environment, to what extent we’ll be getting access to markets and to what extent consumers will react to the product we bring.”
Article Source: Aviation Business ME