New low-cost carrier to tap routes not served by Emirates




The new low-cost carrier will start its flights on routes not currently being tapped by Emirates, according to the unnamed carrier’s appointed chief executive.


“The new carrier will primarily be flying to the routes that are not being currently served by Emirates,” Ghaith Al-Ghaith told Emirates Business. “We will kick off with as many destinations as possible and as many aircraft as we manage to get.”


The establishment of the new airline was announced last week by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.


On Wednesday Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, and Chairman of the new carrier, said in a statement: “Initially the new airline will operate regionally within the GCC area and surrounding countries.”


The new low-fare carrier, which is scheduled to begin operations in 12 months, will take off from the upcoming Al Maktoum International airport in Jebel Ali’s Dubai World Central development, said Al-Ghaith.


“We will start operations when the low-cost terminal at Jebel Ali’s new airport is ready next year,” he said.


“Dubai’s airport cannot handle fresh capacity now, while Al Maktoum International airport gives us that opportunity.”


He added that talks are in progress with the two aircraft manufacturers – Airbus in Europe and Boeing in the US – for the single-aisle aircraft needed for the new budget carrier.


“We are currently negotiating and should have the final answer sooner than three months. It would be either Airbus A320s or Boeing 737s,” he said. When asked if the aircraft would be leased or bought, Al-Ghaith said that initially, the company would be taking the leasing route and then look at purchasing more aircraft at a later stage. “We are talking to almost all the operating lessors in the world,” he said.


Al-Ghaith, who serves as Emirates’ executive vice president for commercial operations worldwide, would be relinquishing his role at the airline in the near future, Emirates had said in a statement on Wednesday.


The new carrier, which will be assisted by Emirates Group in its formation up to its first flight, will be competing with the existing budget carriers in the Middle East such as the DFM-listed Air Arabia and Kuwait stock exchange-listed Jazeera Airways. It will eventually run as a standalone operation, Emirates said recently.


“The Government of Dubai’s announcement to set up a new airline will result in the formation of a new company that will operate a low-cost airline model with its own brand and identity,” Sheikh Ahmed said.