x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Air Arabia to offer 12,500 free seats

The largest no-frills airline in the region is giving seats away this month to celebrate its fifth anniversary.

DUBAI // The largest no-frills airline in the region plans to give away 12,500 free seats this month to celebrate its fifth anniversary. Air Arabia will give away the free seats to passengers travelling on Oct 28 as a gesture of goodwill and thanks for their support since the airline, based in Sharjah, launched. Adel Ali, Air Arabia's chief executive, would not specify how much the airline was spending on the giveaway."This is a cost we are happy to incur," he said.

Passengers will be able to take advantage of the special offer, which covers full air fare plus surcharges but excludes government or airport taxes, on any destination in the airline's network. Although falling oil prices - recently down to about US$70 a barrel - can ease pressure on airline operating costs, Air Arabia would not benefit if prices dropped "drastically" or even much further, Mr Ali said.

Economies in the region are reliant on oil revenues, so if prices fall too much it could slow the economy and stop people from travelling. "I know lower fuel price is good for airlines, but we don't want to see an economic slowdown, as people will cut back on travelling, which is not good for us," he said. "I am not saying we want to see oil at $140 per barrel, but we don't want to see it at $40 a barrel, either."

skhan@thenational