x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 November 2017

Air Arabia and DAE Capital sign separate aircraft leasing deals

Two UAE firms in deals to operate and lease long-range Airbus and Boeing Dreamliner jets

Visitors walk past a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at the Dubai Airshow. Kamran Jebreili / AP
Visitors walk past a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at the Dubai Airshow. Kamran Jebreili / AP

Sharjah-based Air Arabia, the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC), has signed a lease agreement for six Airbus A321neo long range aircraft with the Los Angeles-based Air Lease Corporation at the Dubai Airshow.

The planes will join Air Arabia’s fleet from 2019 and "will help the airline better serve its existing network as well as enter longer range routes in the near future", the carrier said on Monday.

Founded in 2003, Air Arabia currently operates a fleet of 50 Airbus A320 aircraft, serving over 133 routes from five hubs; in the UAE (Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah), Morocco, Egypt and Jordan.

“We continue to witness growth in passenger traffic across our hubs and remain focused on our business model and mission to provide affordable fare and value for money to passengers," said Adel Al Ali, the group chief executive of Air Arabia.

The A321neo LR is the longest-range single aisle airliner on the market and Air Arabia’s A321neo LR jets will each have a capacity of 215 seats.

“We operate our business on a global basis, providing aircraft to airline customers in every major geographical region; and as the fastest-growing aviation market in the world, the Middle East region remains one of our key markets," said Alex Khatibi, the executive vice president of Air Lease Corporation. "Our relationship with Air Arabia dates back to the formation of the airline and we are pleased to sign this lease agreement ... supporting their ambitious growth plans."

John Leahy, the chief operating officer for customers at Airbus Commercial Aircraft, added: “With its unique customised interior and passenger comfort, the aircraft will enable Air Arabia to continue to innovate and lead the low-cost air travel market in the Mena region."

Also at the Dubai Airshow, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise's (DAE) leasing division DAE Capital and Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national carrier, signed a lease agreement for five Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.

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The jets are scheduled to enter the carrier’s fleet in 2018 to help Gulf Air expand its network.

“We are pleased to be in a position to support Gulf Air’s fleet strategy as they look to develop their route offering," said Firoz Tarapore, the chief executive of DAE, one of the top 10 biggest aircraft leasing firms in the world, which has an owned, managed and committed fleet of nearly 400 Airbus, ATR and Boeing planes with a fleet value of US$14 billion.

"Leasing these state of the art new technology aircraft underlines Dubai Aerospace Enterprise’s ability to work across the asset spectrum and help customers with varying fleet requirements. We look forward to supporting one of the Gulf Air as it continues to grow,” Mr Tarapore added.

The Gulf Air deputy chief executive, Captain Waleed Abdulhameed Al Alawi, said: “The incoming aircraft represent an important step in our strategic direction towards furthering Gulf Air’s fleet modernisation process ... as we look to strengthen our presence across the globe.”