New carrier launched by Air Arabia

Middle East's Air Arabia, the first budget airline, commenced its flights in 2003.

In order to expand its operations, this airline is going into a joint venture with a new budget carrier in Egypt.

This joint venture, Air Arabia Egypt, shall operate flights to Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Egypt; and shall be the third center of activity for Air Arabia after UAE and Morocco.

Travco Group based in Egypt owns 60 per cent of shares in the joint venture. The startup capital shall be $50 million.

The Chief Executive of Air Arabia Mr Ali said: "Egypt is a strategic middle point between our two hubs. A total capital of US$50 million (Dh183.6m) would be jointly invested in Air Arabia Egypt."

He further said that the flights shall begin by 2009 or 2010.

And the airports of Egypt, Cairo and in Red Sea area shall be used; however, other options are presently open.

Mr Ali said: "From Cairo, we can go to anywhere in Europe, as far as London. So we will be going to Italy, France, Germany, the UK … the tourism market from Europe to Egypt is so high that we will be tapping into every possible airport we can think of."

He also mentioned that the company's policy is to fly to destinations having flying time of within four and a half hours.

He said: "Our focus will be on tourism and to develop more tourism into Egypt, so we will be doing a lot of holiday packages."

Presently, Air Arabia operates 20 A320 Airbuses, and 44 are on order. If required, more Airbuses shall be ordered.

Ali said, "The market will only go positive; it won't go worse."

Air Arabia has set up its second center in Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca; and operates flights to 57 destinations in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Meanwhile, the Travco Group operates hotels, resorts and cruises in Europe, Egypt and the Middle East, 146 in number; and tourist transport vehicles. Aviation services, like ticketing offices and aircraft ground handling services, are also operated by this group.

This company has its offices in the UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Syria, and has representatives the UK and Germany.