DUBAI’s brand new low cost airline will be wallet and people friendly, TTN has learnt.
It is expected that the eagerly awaited budget airline, recently announced by the Government of Dubai will take about twelve months to get airborne.
Sources close to the new carrier say, in addition to the budget approach, those behind the airline want to make it as accessible as possible, to travellers, both online and via travel agents.
The “people’s airlines” philosophy is likely to further fuel interest in the latest entrant into the Middle East’s fledging low cost carrier market.
The Emirates Group has made clear the so-far-unnamed airline will not be part of the group. However, executives say, it will assist in settling up the venture.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and CEO at Emirates Airlines & Group, has been appointed chairman of the new airline. Ghaith Al Ghaith, executive vice president commercial operations worldwide at Emirates, has been appointed chief executive. He will soon relinquish his current role.
Following the March 18th news, which triggered a flurry of media activity, Sheikh Ahmed said, “Emirates welcomes this announcement as another chapter in the UAE’s aviation story. Dubai’s Open Skies policy encourages the growth of air transport, which has and continues to contribute to the development of the city”.
Initially, the new airline will operate regionally within the GCC region and surrounding countries, although exact routes and aircraft types are still being discussed. Its home will be the Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali, which as part of Dubai World Central will become the largest airport in the world.
The latest low cost operator will take off alongside other low cost carriers of the region, such as Air Arabia, Jazeera Airways and Bahrain Air, all of whom are cruising on the back of International Air Transport Association (IATA) figures, which show the Middle East as the fastest growing air passenger market, up 18.1 per cent last year.
by Jonna Simon
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