| 29 May 2024, Wednesday |

Air Arabia in joint venture to launch low-cost airline in Pakistan

Sharjah-based low-cost carrier Air Arabia Group and Lakson Group, a business conglomerate in Pakistan, decided to form a joint venture to launch a new airline in Pakistan ‘Fly Jinnah’.

The suggested venture will establish a low-cost passenger airline serving domestic and international routes from Pakistan, according to a statement on Friday from Air Arabia.

“We are confident that Fly Jinnah will add value to the air transport sector of Pakistan and directly contribute to the local economy through job creation and the development of the travel and tourism sector,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia.

Fly Jinnah will contribute to the country’s economic growth and job creation, while providing Pakistanis with reliable and value-for-money air travel, the statement said.

“Fly Jinnah will serve Pakistan’s travel and tourism sector and will play a constructive role in contributing to the nation’s economic growth,” said Iqbal Ali Lakhani, chairman of Lakson Group.

“This partnership also reflects our commitment to support the development of Pakistan’s air transport sector while providing the citizens and visitors of the country with a new option of value-for-money air travel.”

Fly Jinnah will initially be based in Karachi and serve domestic routes in Pakistan and will then expand its route network internationally. The new airline will follow the low-cost business model.

Work on securing the air operating certificate – which allows the airline to start operating – will commence shortly, the statement said.

More details about the launch date, fleet and destination network will be announced in due course, Air Arabia said.

The air transport industry, including airlines, their supply chain and with tourism spend, is estimated to contribute $3.3 billion to Pakistan’s gross domestic product, according to the International Air Transport Association. In total, 1 per cent of the country’s GDP is supported by inputs to the air transport sector and foreign tourists arriving by air.

The new Pakistan airline will become Air Arabia’s third joint venture airline project. The UAE-listed carrier recently formed a joint venture with the Armenian National Interests Fund, or Anif, to launch Armenia’s new airline, Fly Arna. It will apply for its air operator certificate in the coming weeks.

This partnership will provide the citizens [of Pakistan] and visitors with a new option of value-for-money air travel
Iqbal Ali Lakhani, chairman, Lakson Group

The Sharjah-based group took a 49 per cent stake in the joint venture and will manage the business, Adel Ali, Air Arabia group chief executive, told Bloomberg TV last month.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, a joint venture between Air Arabia and Etihad Airways, was unveiled in July 2020 with a maiden flight to the Egyptian port city of Alexandria from its base at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

  • The National News