SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 5 August 2021, Thursday |

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi to expand fleet to 20 jets by 2025

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi aims to grow its fleet to 20 Airbus aircraft over the next five years amid optimism about future growth once air travel restrictions ease.

The airline, which currently operates 3 Airbus A320s in the UAE capital, also expects annual passenger traffic to initially grow 20 to 25 percent over the same period, Adel Ali, Air Arabia’s group chief executive told The National on Tuesday.

“With the caveat that based on what surprises we get from Covid-19 and unexpected things happening, we should really be able to grow the business … with 20 planes operating out of Abu Dhabi in the next five years,” Ali said.

The airline, a joint venture between Air Arabia and Etihad Airways, launched in July 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic with a maiden flight to the Egyptian port city of Alexandria from Abu Dhabi International Airport. The UAE capital’s first budget carrier aims to draw tourists to the Gulf city, supply passengers from secondary cities into Etihad’s long-haul operations and offer affordable travel options to UAE residents. The joint venture is part of Abu Dhabi’s push to diversify its economy, boost tourism and improve its air connectivity.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, which will complete its first year of operations on July 14, plans to “speed up growth” once the emirate loosens its Covid-19 travel restrictions, Ali said.

“We’re very satisfied, under the circumstances of Covid and lockdowns everywhere, with the result that the company has produced for us in Abu Dhabi, which makes us optimistic about future growth once there’s normality and Abu Dhabi opens,” he said.

The emirate is set to bring into force new Covid-19 quarantine-free travel rules starting next month. Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism said it plans to lift quarantine restrictions for inbound travellers from July 1, apart from visitors from India, which is battling a devastating second wave of the pandemic.