Founder members of the Arabesk Group, a commercial co-operation initially involving seven Middle East airlines, have formalised their relationship. Founding members, Egyptair, Gulf Air, Middle East Airlines, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Tunisair and Yemen Airways, plan to colaborate on governance, membership criteria, dispute resolution, commercial activity, operations, financial obligations and ongoing construction of the group.
Sabre Airline Solutions has been appointed technical advisor to the group and will assist the airlines in executing the agreement. The carriers have already started co-operating on flights and each will have code-share flights and special prorate agreements (SPAs) with other members during the Summer 2006 schedule period.
Abdul Wahab Teffaha, secretary general of the regional representative body, the Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO) commented: “The co-operation is already yielding benefits for the individual carriers and is demonstrating that this is a good path for the future, as well as providing value added service to the travellers through better market coverage.”
Nejib Ben-Khedher, President and managing partner of the consulting group at Sabre Airline Solutions, said: “The Arabesk initiative is proof that airlines in the same region can work together effectively, through ensuring that schedule co-operation occurs while allowing free and open competition. We’re confident that Arabesk Group will stimulate traffic growth in the region and improve the market share of each of the members. The early results have been impressive.”
Other airlines have expressed interest in membership and will follow an application procedure defined in detail in the Articles of Co-operation.
Sabre Airline Solutions has expanded its consulting business significantly over the past three years, with much of this growth coming from the Middle East. More than 25 percent of the consulting business’ 2005 revenue was generated in this region. After a successful commercial assistance project with Egyptair in 2003 and 2004, Sabre Airline Solutions’ consultants supported Gulf Air in its recent return to profitability and are conducting a large turnaround engagement at Yemenia.
“Arabesk speaks both to our strength in the area of airline planning and to our familiarity with the Middle East region,” said Ben-Khedher. “We are proud of our partnership with the Arab carriers and want to continue supporting the community of airlines in the region to allow them to remain competitive and to capture a large share of the growth that this dynamic region is witnessing.”