x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Air Arabia takes off from Egypt

Budget carrier offers services from its centre in Alexandria to Amman, Beirut, Khartoum and Kuwait.

Air Arabia, the budget carrier based in Sharjah, launched its Egyptian subsidiary yesterday with services from its centre in Alexandria to Amman, Beirut, Khartoum and Kuwait. The new unit will see Air Arabia push deeper into the Middle East aviation market after launching services out of Morocco early last year. Air Arabia Egypt is a joint venture with Travco, a regional hospitality company. It plans to launch flights to key cities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the airline said.

"Complementing our existing operations in the UAE and Morocco, this new low-cost carrier will provide the same consistently high level of service," said Adel Ali, the chief executive of Air Arabia. Meanwhile, a Jordanian charter airline has added Abu Dhabi to its schedule after launching flights to Sharjah in March. Royal Falcon Airlines yesterday began direct flights from Amman to Abu Dhabi International Airport's Terminal 2 twice a week. Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), the capital's airports operator, has continued a marketing campaign to bring in new airlines to develop the emirate's aviation sector and draw in trade and tourism. There are now 51 airlines serving the airport.

"Royal Falcon Airlines marks a welcome addition to the increasing number of airlines that choose Abu Dhabi International Airport as a new destination in their network," said Ahmad al Haddabi, the senior vice president of airports operations at ADAC. The airline operates Boeing 737s and also flies to Baku in Azerbaijan, Stockholm in Sweden and Iraq. It will join Etihad Airways and Royal Jordanian among airlines already serving the route.

Etihad has introduced its non-stop services to Erbil, becoming the first UAE carrier to fly to northern Iraq. The airline said it would focus on leisure travellers from Iraq who were looking for short breaks within the Gulf region, as well as business customers, friends and relatives travelling between the UAE and Erbil. It follows the launch of Etihad's flights to Baghdad in April this year, which has since grown from three flights a week to a daily service. Emirates Airline began flying A380s to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia daily yesterday, after introducing the superjumbo to the kingdom in February.

The three-class configuration in the A380 marks the first time Emirates has provided business class for Saudi Arabia. igale@thenational.ae