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New UAE budget carrier launches first routes

written by Hannah Dowling | July 7, 2020

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, the newest budget carrier in the UAE, is set to begin its first passenger flights on 14 July, with multiple routes headed for Egypt.

The new airline is a joint venture between Sharjah-based airline Air Arabia and UAE state-owned flag carrier Etihad, who partnered back in October last year to establish Air Arabia Abu Dhabi out of Abu Dhabi International Airport.

World of Aviation reported that the new carrier was awarded its air operating certificate by UAE authorities in April, despite facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its inaugural passenger flight will see the carrier take off from Abu Dhabi in its Airbus A320, headed inbound to Alexandria’s Borg El Arab International Airport on 14 July.

Further, return flights between Abu Dhabi and Sohag International Airport are set to begin the following day.

Return flights to Alexandria will operate three times per week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, departing Abu Dhabi at 3pm local time and arriving at 4:55pm local time. 

The return flights will depart Alexandria at 5:35pm local time, arriving in Abu Dhabi at 11:25pm local time.


Meanwhile, flights between Sohag and Abu Dhabi will depart AUH every Wednesday at 2:20pm local time, arriving at 4pm local time.

The return flight departs Sohag on the same day at 4:40pm local time, arriving back at Abu Dhabi at 10:10pm local time.

Moving forward, it is expected that the new carrier will target the Middle East and north African market in the first phase of operations and then expand its reach to underserved Asian markets.

Commenting on the news, Tony Douglas, group CEO at Etihad Aviation Group, said, “In these extraordinary times, it gives us great pride to launch Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, the capital’s first low-cost carrier.

“This joint venture between Etihad and Air Arabia will offer greater convenience and direct access to the UAE’s thriving capital for new markets, beginning with two key Egyptian routes, and expanding in time.”

The new carrier offers the “same value-added product and services provided by Air Arabia across its hubs”, Douglas added.

Adel Al Ali, group CEO at Air Arabia, said, “While the global aviation sector continues to witness unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic, this step is a testament to the strength of the UAE aviation sector and our commitment to its long-term prospects.

“Egypt is a key travel market and the launch of the first flights reflects our focus on supporting commercial and trade ties between both nations while providing our customers with a new value-for-money option to travel between both countries.”


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