Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital’s first low-cost carrier, plans to launch operations July 14 with flights to Egypt’s Alexandria Borg El Arab and Sohag. “The inaugural flight will take off from Abu Dhabi to Alexandria on July 14, followed by flights to Sohag the next day,” the company said Monday.
The new airline will commence operations with two Airbus A320s based at Abu Dhabi International, operating on the same business model as Air Arabia’s. “The customer journey has also been upgraded, adhering to all local and international guidelines set in place to ensure safety protocols and health measures are always met,” it said.
The airline added that it is mindful of current Covid-19 travel restrictions, which put a damper on original plans to launch with up to around a dozen destinations. The UAE announced in June that the emirate of Dubai intended to open to international tourism on July 7, but an Air Arabia spokesman said antivirus measures undertaken in Sharjah, UAE, its main hub, were not identical.
“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,” said Air Arabia Group CEO Adel Al Ali.
“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.”
Air Arabia formed last year after an agreement between it and Etihad Airways to establish an independent joint-venture company to operate as a low-cost passenger airline from Abu Dhabi. It received its UAE General Authority for Civil Aviation (GCAA) AOC in April.
Air Arabia launched from Sharjah in 2003, and now operates two other hubs in the Middle East in addition to Abu Dhabi, in Casablanca and Borg El Arab, Egypt. A spokesman said the new airline would carry the Air Arabia insignia despite the new airline’s distinct corporate status.
New local competitor low-cost Wizz Air Abu Dhabi planned to launch in the second quarter, but the coronavirus held up plans, now likely to materialize later this year. The first Wizz Air flight from Budapest, Hungary, arrived in Abu Dhabi on July 1.