Air Arabia to launch eight new routes in 2011
Air Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest low cost airline, will increase the number of routes it services from 67 to 75 by the end of 2011, its CEO said on Monday.
“It’s a little bit complicated [at the moment], From Egypt, we’re launching a few routes, from Morocco, we’ll add a few, but in total the network will increase to 75 [destinations] by the end of the year,” Adel Ali, CEO of the Sharjah-based airline said on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.
The Arab world’s largest listed airline expects passenger traffic to rise by more than 13 percent annually until 2014. Air Arabia is scheduled to launch a new hub in Jordan in June, to add to its existing bases in Morocco, Egypt and Sharjah.
Adel said total passenger figures for 2010 are expected to pass five million. The Sharjah-based carrier will release its fourth quarter results within the next 45 days, he said.
Air Arabia has faced rising competition from rival low-cost airlines such as FlyDubai and Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways.
UAE emirate Ras Al Khaimah relaunched its budget carrier last year, while India’s no-frills carrier IndiGo last week said it plans to launch flights to the UAE in August.
Air Arabia has 40 A320 aircraft on order from Airbus to drive its expansion plans, with four aircraft delivered in 2010. A further six are scheduled for delivery this year, Adel said.
“We have six [scheduled] in 2011. The first one is coming next week and we’ve got one arriving in June and one in August, by the end of the year, we’ll have six,” he told Arabian Business.
Air Arabia reported a 5.6 percent decline in net profit for the third quarter, down to AED136m ($37.03m) from AED144m in the year earlier period.