Etihad Aviation Group has signed a partnership deal with Air Arabia to launch Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, a new low-cost carrier.
Etihad and Air Arabia will establish an independent joint venture company that will operate as a low-cost passenger airline with its hub in Abu Dhabi International Airport.
The new carrier will complement Etihad Airways’ services from Abu Dhabi and will cater to the growing low-cost travel market segment in the region.
Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Abu Dhabi is a thriving cultural hub with a clear economic vision built on sustainability and diversification.
“With the emirate’s diverse attractions and hospitality offerings, travel and tourism play a vital role in the economic growth of the capital and the UAE.
“By partnering with Air Arabia and launching Abu Dhabi’s first low-cost carrier, we are serving this long-term vision.”
He added: “This exciting partnership supports our transformation programme and will offer our guests a new option for low-cost travel to and from Abu Dhabi, supplementing our own services. We look forward to the launch of the new airline in due course”.
Etihad is the flag-carrier of the United Arab Emirates, while Air Arabia was the Middle East’s first low-cost carrier.
Adel Al Ali, group chief executive officer, Air Arabia, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Etihad to establish Air Arabia Abu Dhabi that will further serve the growing low-cost travel segment locally and regionally while capitalising on the expertise that Air Arabia and Etihad will be providing.”
He added: “This step demonstrates the strength of the UAE aviation sector and serves the vision driving its growth. We look forward to a successful partnership and the launch of the new carrier.”
Based in Abu Dhabi, the new company will adopt the low-cost business model.
Its board of directors, consisting of members nominated by Etihad and Air Arabia, will steer the company’s independent strategy and business mandate.