x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

New UAE airline delays launch

Eastern Express, which planned to start services between Fujairah and Abu Dhabi this month, is to delay its launch.

DUBAI // The launch of a new airline that would fly daily between Fujairah and Abu Dhabi has been delayed.

Eastern Express was expected to have its first flight this month, but owing to a “glitch” in the paperwork submitted to the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) that could be a while longer, said Alex de Vos, the chief executive.

“We are still going ahead for a first quarter launch,” he said. “We were intending for an earlier start, but that’s not going to happen now.”

The privately owned airline was planning to launch a twice-daily service between the two emirates, a 200km journey. A one-way ticket would have cost Dh645.

Mr de Vos said the problem was over the leasing of a propeller aircraft. “That’s not something the GCAA is fond of us doing as long as we don’t hold national carrier status, which we don’t,” said Mr de Vos.

“We’re looking at different options right now. Buying an aircraft would turn around our business plan completely.

“It’s a two-way thing and hopefully it will be resolved in the next few weeks. The moment the GCA approves our paperwork, two weeks later we’ll be ready to fly.”

mcroucher@thenational.ae