• Joe Breitfeller

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi Receives Air Operating Certificate, Becomes Fifth UAE Carrier

Air Arabia announced Thursday that their startup Air Arabia Abu Dhabi has received their Air Operating Certificate (AOC), becoming Abu Dhabi’s first low-cost carrier and the UAE’s fifth national airline.


Air Arabia Airbus A321 - Courtesy Air Arabia

Today, Air Arabia announced that their low-cost carrier (LCC) startup ‘Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’ has received their Air Operating Certificate (AOC) from the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The new carrier will be Abu Dhabi’s first LCC and the UAE’s fifth national airline. Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will work closely with the GCAA to determine a launch date as travel restrictions are lifted and market conditions improve. The startup airline is a joint venture between Etihad Airways and Air Arabia and will operate from Abu Dhabi International Airport, complementing Etihad Airways’ existing services. In Thursday’s announcement, the Director General of the GCAA, His Excellency Saif Al Suwaidi said,


“We congratulate Air Arabia Abu Dhabi for successfully obtaining the AOC after meeting all the required standards and passing all inspections. While the global aviation industry continues to face its greatest challenge due to the impact of COVID-19 on air traffic movement, today’s announcement reflects the strength and confidence of the UAE’s aviation sector and its long-term prospects. The UAE is a global air travel hub, supported by state-of-the-art aviation infrastructure and we continue to provide our residents and visitors with multiple options to stay connected and explore the world. Today’s announcement serves as another testament to the investments made by the UAE in strengthening its aviation sector and we look forward to the launch of Air Arabia Abu Dhabi in due course and the future growth opportunities for the UAE Aviation Sector.”


Also commenting on Thursday’s announcement, Etihad Aviation Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Tony Douglas stated,


“Despite these unprecedented times, today’s announcement is a message of positivity that reflects the strength of the UAE’s aviation industry. We are pushing ahead with our plans to resume normal flying and once we have, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will ideally serve those who wish to explore new destinations from the capital, meeting the growing demand for low-cost travel in the region and complementing Etihad’s own global network. Just as importantly, it will make the amazing sights and experiences of Abu Dhabi accessible to many more visitors from currently unserved markets. Our partnership with Air Arabia will bring exceptional value for passengers, and we look forward to the start of operations once the skies open up again.”


Further commenting on the certification of Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, Air Arabia Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Adel Al Ali added,


“We thank the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) for their support during the process of obtaining the AOC as well as the Air Arabia and Etihad teams who, despite current challenges, worked tirelessly to obtain the license on time. While the spread of COVID-19 continues to impact the global economy including the aviation industry, we are confident that the industry shall overcome today’s challenges and will emerge stronger. Obtaining the AOC during this time reflects our commitment and readiness to launch Air Arabia Abu Dhabi operations as soon as skies and airports open and customers can fly again. Air Arabia Abu Dhabi demonstrates the commitment of the UAE to invest in the aviation sector, and we are looking forward to the launch day, which will establish Abu Dhabi as another key hub in the region for low-cost travel.”


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has assigned the new carrier the reservation code ‘3L’ and Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will adopt Air Arabia’s low-cost model. Air Arabia became the first Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region LCC when the carrier launched in 2003.


Source: Air Arabia

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