KUWAIT-BASED Jazeera Airways has established a second hub in Dubai in line with a multiple-hub regional strategy, said its chairman and CEO Marwan Boodai.
This makes it the only low-fares airline to operate out of the emirate, he said.
The development was accompanied by a two-day launch offer of one million seats at Dh48 each one-way, exclusive of taxes, to all of the airline's destinations.
Jazeera began thrice-weekly services to Bahrain from Dubai on February 8, and will launch non-stop services to six other destinations: Kuwait, Mumbai, Kochi, New Delhi, Muscat, and Salalah.
"The commercial aviation sector in the Middle East and especially the Gulf is picking up speed and Jazeera aims to serve this growing market through establishing multiple hubs in the Arabian Peninsula," Boodai said.
Boodai said it is now common for travellers to look for low fares for short haul travel within the Middle East and India and that travellers now value on-time performance and friendly smiles from their cabin crew more than 'flat beds on 90-minute flights'.
"This is what we learned during our last 15 months of operations. We also learned that we were not wrong to insist on having our own brand new fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft, while many airlines prefer leasing to cut costs. Middle East travellers are different because they are unwilling to compromise on quality for a lower fare.”
He said Jazeera fully supports empowering travellers with tools that enables them to be more in control of their travel plans. "We believe that travellers ultimately want to make their own bookings at their own time. Our state-of-the-art website delivers that and more."
In the past year, he said at the conference, the airline has increased overall growth figures to the points in its network substantially. “Traffic on the Kuwait-Dubai route grew 15 per cent in 2006," he said. "To Amman, traffic grew 28 per cent, and the Jordanian authorities are so happy, they have offered us the flexibility to fly freely to Amman without restrictions."
Other destinations also increased similarly: from Kuwait to Bahrain by 22 per cent, to Damascus 65 per cent, Mumbai 29 per cent, and New Delhi 16 per cent. "This proves we have not cannibalized the market, but rather, have added value for all the stakeholders," he said.
Meanwhile, the airline has launched two weekly direct services between Kuwait and the resort destination Sharm El Sheikh. The airline flies twice a week from Kuwait to the city every Thursday and Sunday, operating brand new Airbus A320s, all fitted with leather seats.
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