24 February 2009

Air Arabia Steps Gingerly Into Europe

Most folks in North America and in Europe have never heard of Air Arabia. It never seems to quite make anyone's list. Yet it is today a powerhouse in the GCC states. It is today probably the most profitable airline in the world with yields that most legacy airlines can only have fantasies about.

It has built an extensive network feeding the the GCC markets into Southern Asia and even beyond. It has steadfastly avoided stepping into the territory of the European based LCCs. Well dream no more. Air Arabia has announced its first Western European destination - Athens. Albeit with a very modest 3x a week ATH-SHJ service. This will not be the last of their European destinations.

With Dubai's new LCC - FlyDubai rearing to go this year - Air Arabia must spread its wings and continue to develop more cross feed and keep ahead of the its Emirates neighborhood cousin who is surely going to make a big impact in the LCC market arena when it arrives later this year.

While technically not its first flights to Europe (the carrier already serves Istanbul and Kiev) this is the first step into a major European gateway.

Welcome to Adel Ali and his team. it would be interesting to see if Ryanair is going to fly to Sharjah! I wouldn't put it past the Irish.


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