On 28 October 2003, Air Arabia, the first low-cost airline of its kind in the Middle East & North Africa region - launched itself into the market. They were introducing a unique concept of travel to the region - Air Arabia’s aim is to provide safe, efficient and cost-effective air travel. Six months in and they are still at it. “It has been an exciting 6 months for Air Arabia - with our value proposition of enabling people who have not been able to afford air travel in the past to start travelling and encouraging those that travel already to do so more often - we have carried over 160,000 passengers to countries within the region and neighbouring countries,” said Adel Ali, Air Arabia’s CEO.
It was a brave decision to bring the low-cost model to this particular market. Many thought it wouldn’t work. Adel Ali adds: “We introduced a new model to the region - a new product into any market takes time to find its niche, but Air Arabia has found its niche in all types of travellers - whether it is for business or leisure - without sacrificing on service and safety standards.”
Starting operations with 5 destinations - Beirut, Bahrain, Damascus, Kuwait and Muscat and 16 flights a week - Air Arabia now operates 56 flights a week to 13 destinations in 10 countries within the Middle East and Sub-continent. In line with other low-cost carriers in different regions Air Arabia aims to make air travel more convenient and frequent through internet booking and offering the lowest fares in the market. The introduction of new services such as their exclusive coach service from Dubai and Al Ain to Sharjah International Airport, in-flight duty free purchases and soon a complimentary in-flight entertainment system, not only compliment this unique airline, but offer their customers added value over and above guaranteed 20-50% lower fares.
Ali added: “The next few months will see Air Arabia offering increased destinations as well as an additional aircraft before the end of the year - expanding our fleet to four Airbus A320 aircraft. The preferred choice in the single-aisle market, the A320 is known for its wide seats, aisles and increased cabin storage, as well as its technological innovation that brings enhanced performance and reliability; Air Arabia’s customers ultimately benefit from these returns with unmatched cabin comfort and economics.”
It seems that Air Arabia can already start to look forward to their first anniversary.