Etihad Aviation Group and Air Arabia Group today announced an agreement to launch Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, the first low-cost low-cost carrier based in Abu Dhabi.
Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will be an independent joint venture, headquartered in Abu Dhabi International Airport. The new partnership will support Etihad Airways' network of destinations and services, and will cater to the region's low-cost and growing travel industry.
Tony Douglas, CEO of Etihad Airways Group, said: “Abu Dhabi is a thriving cultural center with a clear economic vision built on sustainability and diversification. We aim to serve this vision in partnership with Air Arabia by launching the first low-cost low-cost carrier based in Abu Dhabi. ”
“This partnership supports our plan for the transformation program and will provide our guests with low-cost travel options to and from Abu Dhabi, reinforcing Etihad's services. We look forward to launching the new airline in the near future.”
Adel Al Ali, Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia, said: “The UAE is home to the first low-cost carrier in the Middle East and North Africa and a leading global travel and tourism hub. We are delighted to partner with Etihad Airways to establish Air Arabia Abu Dhabi. Increasing demand for low-cost domestic and regional low-cost travel services based on Air Arabia and Etihad Airways' experience.
“This step underscores the strength of the aviation industry in the UAE and serves the future vision of the industry. We look forward to a successful partnership and the launch of the new airline in the near future.”
The new airline will be based on the low-cost low cost airline model and its board of directors, comprised of members nominated by the two companies, will be responsible for guiding the airline's independent strategy and business development.
The UAE's travel and tourism sector contributes more than 13.3% of the country's GDP and is positioned as a global aviation hub, thanks to modern infrastructure and advanced services.
The low-cost aviation sector has grown rapidly since it was first introduced in the MENA region in 2003 from the UAE. Today, the Middle East enjoys the third-highest growth rate in the regional low-cost market, with low-cost airlines taking 17% of seat capacity to and from the Middle East in 2018, compared to 8% in 2009.
Further information on the new joint venture will be disclosed in the near future.