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- Air Arabia (UAE)
Air Arabia Head Quarters
Sharjah Freight Center (Cargo), near Sharjah International Airport
P.O. Box 132 Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
- Main hub
- Sharjah Airport
- United Arab Emirates
- Business model
- Low Cost Carrier
- Association Membership
The Middle East's first low-cost carrier, Air Arabia was established in 2003 by the Ruler of Sharjah and the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates, and is now a publicly-listed company based in Sharjah with secondary hubs in Casablanca and Cairo. Air Arabia’s network includes services within the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent and Europe. Air Arabia has established JV subsidiary airlines in Morocco and Egypt with local investors in each country. This is part of the airline's strategy to create the first pan-Arab airline.
Location of Air Arabia main hub (Sharjah Airport)
Air Arabia share price
LCCs will continue to evolve into hybrids of the original core model. CAPA and OAG consider Air Arabia fits the LCC profile and it is included in our reporting on this basis. Please note: when reporting for an airline is changed from or to LCC the historical data is not affected and it can lead to a distortion in the current reported data. Contact us if you have any queries.
524 total articles
90 total articles
The United Arab Emirates’ newest airport, Dubai World Central (DWC), opened its passenger terminal on 27-Oct-2013 and its first commercial passengers. The operator was Wizz Air, the Eastern/Central European LCC, with a flight from Budapest. Wizz Air Group (which includes Wizz Air Ukraine) also launched Bucharest, Sofia and Kiev from DWC as the winter season commenced.
According to Wizz Air CEO József Váradi, Wizz Air expects to handle 250,000 passengers on services to DWC in the first year of operations. Based on the four routes launched this week, this would imply load factors averaging 95%. Although Wizz Air’s 2012 load factor was more than 85%, this seems very ambitious for new routes, even in the hyperbolic world of low-cost airlines. More likely, Wizz Air plans to add frequencies and/or routes through the year.
Either way, it demonstrates the carrier’s confidence in taking the narrowbody LCC model further than most on routes that look to be under-penetrated. Mr Váradi is even talking of adding flights to India from DWC.
Regional political uncertainty and social turmoil have not been able to stop low-cost carriers in the Middle East from reporting another profitable six months. Two of the region’s key privately owned LCCs, the Sharjah-based Air Arabia and the Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways, have both posted strong profits in 1H2013.
In addition to this, the region’s other two LCCs, the privately owned nasair and the emirate of Dubai-controlled flydubai are anticipating profitable full year results. flydubai reported a maiden profit in 2012 and is looking to continue this momentum into 2013.
nasair has not yet reported a break-even year, despite being launched in 2007, but a restructuring in late 2012 has already seen the carrier reporting profits on a monthly basis.
flydubai is continuing to rapidly expand its extensive network in the CIS region with nine new destinations being launched in 2013. flydubai’s rapid growth in the CIS market will be followed by sister carrier Emirates, which recently unveiled plans to also serve Kiev from Jan-2014.
Dubai-Kiev Boryspil will be Emirates’ first service to the Ukraine and third overall in the CIS along with Moscow Domoededovo and Saint Petersburg. Further CIS network expansion by Emirates is likely to come as low-cost narrowbody operator flydubai continues to develop the Dubai-CIS market, growing routes to the point they can also support widebody service from Emirates.
Emirates announced on 11-Jul-2013 plans to launch daily Dubai-Kiev Boryspil service on 16-Jan-2014, using three-class, 258-seat A340-500s. Emirates’ service will be only the second carrier providing first class seats into Ukraine, following Uzbekistan Airways’ weekly Boeing 767-300 service.
Sharjah based Air Arabia, the Middle East's most successful and until recently overtaken by flydubai, the region's largest LCC, reported a net profit of AED59 million (USD16 million) for the three months to the end of Mar-2013.
The result continues a remarkable run of profitable results for the carrier, stretching all the way back to its first year of operations, even through the Arab Spring period - resulting in a near-doubling of its share price over the past year.
Expansion plans continue, with a new order in the offing, to be selected from the A320neo, 737 MAX and the Bombardier CSeries, according to CEO, Adel Ali.
flydubai has recorded its first annual profit and is preparing more rapid expansion for 2013 and beyond. flydubai, which has already surpassed Sharjah-based Air Arabia as the largest low-cost carrier in the Middle East based on seat capacity, is now looking at placing a new order for 50 narrowbody aircraft. It is already committed to growing its fleet from a current 28 737-800s to at least 50 aircraft by the end of 2015.
flydubai has grown rapidly since being launched in 2009 by the Dubai government, which also owns Emirates. Over the years it has adopted a hybrid model which allows it to fill, in some respects, a role as a regional carrier for its bigger full-service sister carrier. The hybrid approach has resulted in rapid and profitable expansion as flydubai has entered short and medium-haul markets that are too small for Emirates’ all-widebody fleet but in many cases have sufficient yields to support a full-service carrier. At the same time flydubai has been able to stimulate demand by offering low fares and is able to successfully operate alongside Emirates on some of the biggest routes within the Middle East.
Europe’s largest low-cost carrier Ryanair will establish two bases in North African tourism hotspot Morocco in Apr-2013, just six months after the Irish-based carrier’s decision to cut 34 frequencies, including several routes entirely, in protest at rising costs at the country’s airports.
But in a major turnaround Ryanair will base two aircraft at Marrakech and another at Fes while also adding two new Moroccan airports at Essaouira and Rabat as it looks to grows its Morocco operations to 60 routes and eight airports, delivering up to 2.5 million passengers a year to the country.
The decision is in stark contrast to situation in Jun-2012 when Ryanair announced it would cancel 34 weekly flights, about 14% of its capacity, to and from Morocco, claiming ONDA, the state owned airports authority had “reneged on its agreement with the airline by imposing a new monopoly handling company on Ryanair which would have resulted in a massive increase in charges for the airline”.
The decision by Ryanair first to reduce capacity and now reinstate it offers a significant boost for Morocco’s struggling economy, heavily reliant on European tourism. But it will also put further pressure on state-owned Royal Air Maroc (RAM).
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