Low-cost carrier Air Arabia said it is looking to add new destinations in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe from 2019 following the leasing deal for new long-haul aircraft, its chief executive officer said.
“In 8 hours, you can reach China, Thailand, South Africa, Central Africa, Morocco, East Europe and Russia,” Adel Ali said.
Replying to a question about flying to Western Europe, he said there are certain places where it is sufficient capacity and oversupply from the UAE market, so there is no point to go where everyone is going.
Sharjah-based carrier has signed a lease agreement for six Airbus A321 neo LR with the US-based Air Lease Corporation which will enable it to serve destinations up to eight hours.
The airline didn’t disclose the value of the deal signed on the second day of Dubai Airshow at Dubai World Central. The additional aircraft will join Air Arabia fleet in early 2019.
Ali said in a post-conference interview that the new aircraft will be used to strengthen existing routes and fly to new routes as well.
“We continue to witness growth in passenger traffic across our hubs and remain focused on our business model and missions to provide affordable fare and value for money to passengers. The addition of A321 neo Long Range allows us to expand to longer range destinations and be more flexible in our existing high density routes,” he said. Ali called for more capacity on UAE-India routes which is nearly peaking for almost all the local carriers. “We would like to add more capacity to India because the market can take and we are already flying a high seat factor,” Ali added.
He said the airline will receive three aircraft in 2018 and six in 2019. “We will be looking for more airplanes as and when needed,” he said in reply to a question about possibility of ordering more aircraft and phasing out of the existing fleet. The carrier reported Dh376 million profit for the third-quarter of 2017, an increase of 27 per cent compared to Dh296.5 million.