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An Air Arabia Airbus A320 (Photo: Air Arabia)

Etihad Airways and Air Arabia Inaugurate Joint Venture Partnership With New Airline

With no end in sight for the global pandemic and the uncertainty regarding business within the aviation industry, it is the special milestones that help keep the industry stay afloat. For instance, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi inaugurated its operations with its first flight to Alexandria, Egypt, on July 14, ultimately jumpstarting the special, joint venture company between Etihad Airways and Air Arabia.  

While the United Arab Emirates capital’s first low-cost carrier currently only has flights to two cities, Alexandria and Sohag, Egypt, using its two Airbus A320 aircraft, the airline hopes to expand across the region. Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer for the Etihad Aviation Group, anticipates that the new joint venture company will better serve the UAE’s population and help Etihad’s extensive, international network. 

“We are proud to launch Air Arabia Abu Dhabi operations today with the first flight to Alexandria. This joint venture between Etihad and Air Arabia will offer the nation’s citizens and residents a great new option for air travel from the UAE’s vibrant capital city,” Douglas said. “We look forward to expanding our codeshare partnership to provide more connections to and from Etihad’s global network onto Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’s growing list of destinations.”

The new low-cost business model will align itself with Air Arabia’s budget airline while enhancing the flight services of Etihad from the capital city. As a result, the carrier aims to cater their business towards the growing low-cost market sector across the region.

Shareef Hashim Al Hashmi, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, expresses a feeling of optimism and confidence regarding how the joint venture partnership between Etihad and Air Arabia will impact the tourism and travel sector in Abu Dhabi, the vibrant capital city of the UAE. 

“We are pleased to witness Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’s first flight and commencement of operations as the UAE capital’s first low-cost carrier. Abu Dhabi International Airport, with its innovative health and safety technology, is well-positioned to cater to the emirate’s growing aviation and tourism industries including the increasingly popular low-cost air travel sector,” Al Hashmi said. “We are looking forward to introducing passengers traveling aboard Air Arabia Abu Dhabi to our own unique brand of Arabian hospitality and a seamless travel experience.”

Adel Al Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer for Air Arabia, is thrilled about the launch of this joint venture endeavor and is eager to see how this will overcome challenges, the aviation industry in the UAE faces during this global pandemic. 

“We are delighted for the launch of Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’s first flight and we thank all partners who supported us in achieving today’s milestone,” Ali said. “We look forward to expanding Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’s destination network as more airports open up while providing our customers with a new value-for-money option to travel from and into the capital.”

The first flights operating under the Air Arabia Abu Dhabi brand debut with two key Egyptian routes, where Egypt is a competitive travel market, and the airline hopes to expand into new markets soon. 

“While the global aviation sector continues to witness unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic, this step is a testament to the strength of the UAE aviation sector and our commitment to its long-term prospects,” Ali added. “Egypt is a key travel market and the launch of the first flights reflects our focus on supporting commercial and trade ties between both nations while providing our customers with a new value-for-money option to travel between both countries.”


  • Benjamin Pham

    Benjamin has had a love for aviation since a young age, growing up in Tampa with a strong interest in airplane models and playing with them. When he moved to the Washington, D.C. area, Benjamin took part in aviation photography for a couple of years at Gravelly Point and Dulles Airport, before dedicating planespotting to only when he traveled to the other airports. He is an avid, world traveler, having been able to reach 32 countries, yearning to explore and understand more cultures soon. Currently, Benjamin is an Air Transporation Management student at Arizona State University. He hopes to enter the airline industry to improve the passenger experience and loyalty programs while keeping up to how technology is being integrated into airports.

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