Dubai to launch low-cost airline

The ruler of Dubai has ordered the creation of a new low-cost airline to serve the growing number of passengers travelling through the Gulf trade and tourism hub, the official WAM news agency said yesterday.

 Dubai to launch low-cost airline
Dubai already has the largest Arab airline, Emirates, which will run the new low-cost airline.

The new carrier plans to lease or buy single-aisle aircraft and will begin operations within a year, Emirates chairman said. "There is a need for it in the region," Shaikh Ahmed bin Saaed Al Maktoum said by telephone, adding that it will fly to destinations between four to four and half hours away from Dubai.

WAM said Dubai ruler H H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the prime minister and vice-president of the UAE, said the new airline should price its services to passengers based on "the economic and living conditions to suit their incomes."

Ghaith Al Ghaith, executive vice president for commercial operations at Emirates, has been appointed chief executive of the new airline, which will be part of the Emirates group.

The new carrier will be the sixth in the region that is low-cost and will compete with Sharjah-based Air Arabia, the Middle East's largest low cost airline. Air Arabia was also the first in the region to be privately owned.

"The market is sufficiently big for all of us and it will complement us," Air Arabia Chief Executive Officer Adel Ali said. "I am pleased such an airline has seen our business model as a success and decided to do the same."

Dubai International Airport, the busiest airport in the Middle East, saw international passenger traffic grow 19 percent last year. It handled 34.34 million passengers.

Emirates, the largest customer for Airbus's A380 aircraft, plans to take delivery of 246 planes worth more than $60bn during the next few years.

Agencies
Last Mod: 19 Mart 2008, 16:16
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