Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, a joint venture between UAE carriers Etihad Airways and Air Arabia, will start operations this month with flights to Egypt.
The low-cost carrier will begin with direct flights connecting the UAE capital to the port city of Alexandria and Sohag in Upper Egypt on July 14, it said in a statement on Monday.
“While the global aviation sector continues to witness unprecedented challenges due to [the] Covid-19 pandemic, this step is a testament to the strength of the UAE aviation sector and our commitment to its long-term prospects,” Adel Al Ali, group chief executive of Air Arabia, said. “We look forward to expanding [the] Air Arabia Abu Dhabi destination network as more airports open up and flights resume.”
Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will begin operations out of Abu Dhabi International Airport with two single-aisle Airbus A320 aircraft.
“In these extraordinary times, it gives us great pride to launch Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, the capital’s first low-cost carrier,” Tony Douglas, chief executive of Etihad Aviation Group, said. “This joint venture between Etihad and Air Arabia will offer greater convenience and direct access to the UAE’s thriving capital for new markets worldwide, beginning with two key Egyptian routes, and expanding in time.”
In April, the airline said it secured its air operating licence, making it the UAE’s fifth national airline.
Air Arabia Abu Dhabi previously said it would begin operations in the second quarter of 2020 and was working with the UAE’s civil aviation regulator to finalise its launch date once market conditions improve and skies re-open.
The two UAE airlines announced plans for the joint venture in October 2019 with the aim of tapping growing demand for low-cost travel from the capital.
The announcement of its inaugural flights comes as countries begin to gradually ease restrictions on travel, which came to a grinding halt by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Egypt reopened to international flights in June and Egyptian nationals living in the UAE can now fly home.
“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,” Mr Al Ali said.
Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will become the UAE’s fifth national airline after discount carrier Flydubai, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Sharjah-based Air Arabia.
Upcoming rival Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the venture between the Hungarian low-cost airline and Abu Dhabi state holding company ADQ, will become the UAE’s sixth national carrier.