Air Arabia takes to the skies

Emirate of Sharjah throws its hat into airline sector with the launch of Air Arabia.

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By  John Irish Published  February 4, 2003

With competition fierce at a regional level and prices tumbling, the Emirate of Sharjah today (Feb 04) announced the launch of a new airline, Air Arabia. The airline will aim to transport both passengers and cargo within the UAE and in the region as a whole.

According to H.E. Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed Al Thani, chairman, Department of Civil Aviation in Sharjah, this project will fill the void felt by the community in Sharjah and the Northern Emirates.

“We believe Air Arabia will improve and complement air transportation for both the nationals and the residents of Sharjah and the Northern Emirates,” said Sheikh Abdulla. “It will also provide travellers and the tourist with yet another gateway to the United Arab Emirates. It is natural that Air Arabia will create more jobs and business opportunities.”

At an estimated cost of Dhs10 million (US $ 2.7 million), Air Arabia will initially lease several passenger and cargo aircraft as well as helicopters. Sharjah civil aviation authorities hope to get the planes up and running in the Gulf and neighbouring Iran as early as March.

“An extensive feasibility study has been conducted and we now have a team of experts working and finalising the business plan which should be completed in the very near future. Our intention is to have a small airline, serving our people and our business needs,” said Dr Ghanem Al-Hajri, director general, Civil Aviation & Sharjah Airport Authority.

This latest venture comes a day after the Emirate announced a 20% increase in passenger and cargo figures for 2002.

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