Air Arabia To Expand Into China

CEO Adel Ali predicts a minimum five new routes a year as the low-cost carrier flies into its second decade



Air Arabia plans to serve three or four Chinese destinations from next year after securing traffic rights to the Asian superpower.

Speaking at a media roundtable in Dubai last night, CEO Adel Ali said it had still to decide which cities, but it would most likely be in the west, given its short-haul, low-cost model.

The Gulf’s first low-cost carrier, which marks its 10th anniversary today, remains in bullish mode, forecasting 10-12 per cent passenger growth this year. Last year it recorded a profit of Dhs425 million.

Ali said it aims to serve all airports in the Arab world in the next decade and can see it launching “a minimum” five routes a year out of Sharjah. A second runway is due to open at Sharjah International Airport within 12 months.

Ten more A320s are due to be delivered next year, and another 10 in 2015, and talks are ongoing with Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier about its future fleet requirements, and a decision will be made “sometime next year”.

A special 10th anniversary commemorative aircraft is to shuttle between Sharjah and Kuwait, Bahrain, Muscat and Beirut, the first four routes that were launched 10 years ago.