Sharjah-headquartered budget carrier Air Arabia (AIRARABI:DFM) has announced plans to open a new international hub at Amman Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan following its acquisition of a 49 percent stake in Petra Airlines. Air Arabia, which is the first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC) in the Middle East and North Africa, already has hubs in Alexandria (Egypt), Casablanca (Morocco), Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE and it’s home base Sharjah.
Petra Airlines was founded in 2005 as a subsidiary of RUM Group, Jordan’s leading travel and transport group. Following the Air Arabia deal, RUM group will retain a 51 percent stake in the airline. Initially offering charter flights, Petra Airlines transitioned into a budget airline in 2012 and since launched flights to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The acquisition of Petra Airlines will lead to the creation of ‘Air Arabia Jordan’, reinforcing the airline’s presence in the Levant region. Initially, two Airbus A320 aircraft will be based at Amman Queen Alia International Airport. Air Arabia Jordan is expected to commence operations during the first quarter of 2015, providing direct services to a range of destinations across the Europe, Middle East and North Africa region from Queen Alia International Airport. Launch routes will be announced in the coming weeks.
Since Air Arabia’s inaugural flight took off from Sharjah in October 2003, the airline has expanded to serve over 100 destinations in the Middle East, North Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and Europe.
During the first nine months of 2014 the airline served over 5.1 million passengers, a 13 per cent year-on-year increase, and posted a turnover of AED 2.8 billion (US$ 0.76 b) during the same period. Air Arabia PJSC is listed on the Dubai Financial Market.
Source: Air Arabia, Petra Airlines