April 2014, Issue: 4 Volume: 32

Aviation

Ali… satisfied with the low-cost model
6pc growth for Air Arabia
TTN Yearbook 201222

Air Arabia, the region’s first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC) in the Middle East and North Africa, announced that it carried some 4.7 million passengers in 2011, a six per cent growth compared to the previous year. The airline’s ambitious network expansion strategy was central to the significant growth in passenger numbers witnessed over the past year. In the same year, Air Arabia also reported that its on-time performance for out-bound flights from its Sharjah hub recorded 93 per cent.

In 2011, Air Arabia added six new routes to Moscow and Yekaterinburg in Russia, Kharkiv and Donetsk in Ukraine, and Gassim and Yanbu in Saudi Arabia. In addition, the airline also launched non-stop services from its Alexandria hub to Milan in Italy, Riyadh and Dammam in Saudi Arabia.  This year, the carrier already announced the expansion of its Kuwait services from its Sharjah hub taking it to three daily services from March 25, 2012.

Last year the carrier also took delivery of six new A320 aircraft from Airbus as part of an order for 44 aircraft placed in 2007. Once completed in 2016, the order will, more than double the size of Air Arabia’s fleet, in line with its aim to increase its total operating fleet to more than 50 aircraft.

Air Arabia also announced its desire to expand to cover 100 destinations worldwide by the end of 2015. Ali added that the airline which now has 28 aircraft would grow to 34 by the end of the year when they acquire six new planes. “With this, we will expand to cover 100 destinations.”

He further added that they are happy with the low-cost model Air Arabia had designed. “We will continue with that model and are happy many other airlines are following it as well.”

Ali said most of the airline’s expansions in the next few years would be into Central Asia.

“We have plans to expand further into India as well from 110 flights every week to Indian airports at present. We will continue to expand to wherever we are allowed to do so.”

“In eight years, Air Arabia has created one of the region’s state-of-the-art fleets of modern and reliable aircraft, enabling them to combine value for money with operational excellence,” he concluded.