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Etihad and Air Arabia join hands to launch Abu Dhabi’s first low-cost carrier

Etihad Aviation Group, proprietor of the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, and Air Arabia, the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier, today reported the consenting of an agreement to launch ‘Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’, the capital’s first low-cost carrier.

Etihad and Air Arabia will set up an independent joint endeavor company that will work as a low-cost passenger airline with its hub in Abu Dhabi International Airport. The new carrier will complement Etihad Airways’ services from Abu Dhabi and will oblige the developing ease travel market section in the area.

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, stated: “Abu Dhabi is a flourishing cultural hub with a clear economic vision built on sustainability and enhancement. With the emirate’s diverse attractions and hospitality offerings, travel and tourism play a vital role in the economic growth of the capital and the UAE. By joining forces with Air Arabia and launching Abu Dhabi’s first low-cost carrier, we are serving this long-term vision”.

He included: “This energizing association underpins our transformation programme and will offer our visitors a new option for low-cost travel to and from Abu Dhabi, enhancing our own services. We anticipate the launch of the new airline in due course”.

Adel Al Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia, stated: “Home to the first low-cost carrier in the MENA region, the UAE has created over the years to turn into a world-leading travel and tourism hub. We are excited to partner with Etihad to establish Air Arabia Abu Dhabi that will further serve the growing low-cost travel segment locally and provincially while capitalising on the expertise that Air Arabia and Etihad will be providing”.

He included: “This progression shows the strength of the UAE aviation sector and serves the vision driving its growth. We anticipate an effective association and the launch of the new carrier”.

Situated in Abu Dhabi, the new company will embrace the low-cost business model. Its board of directors, comprising of individuals assigned by Etihad and Air Arabia, will guide the company’s independent strategy and business mandate.

The UAE’s travel and tourism sector contributes to over 13.3% of the nation’s GDP and enjoys a prominent standing as a global aviation hub, thanks to the UAE’s ultra-modern infrastructure, advanced services sector and high-quality air transport.

The MENA low-cost air travel model was first introduced in the UAE in 2003 and has been rapidly developing since then. Today, the Middle East market enjoys the third highest gains in intra-regional low-cost carrier penetration rate. Low-cost carriers accounted for 17% share of seat capacity to and from the Middle East in 2018, compared to only 8% in 2009.

Further information with respect to the new joint endeavor will be conveyed soon.

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