Air Arabia (PJSC), the first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC) in the Middle East and North Africa, announced today that it has signed an agreement with Airbus for the acquisition of up to 49 A320 aircraft. The carrier has signed a firm contract for 34 Airbus A320 aircraft with an option for 15 more. The Sharjah-based airline, which made the announcement during the Dubai Air Show, has yet to specify the engines to be installed on its new fleet.
The deal, whose total book value approaches US$3.5 billion at list prices, will more than triple the size of Air Arabia’s fleet, and underlines its stated ambition to increase its total operating fleet to over 50 aircraft by 2015 and become a world-leading airline.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani, Chairman, Air Arabia, said the decision to choose the Airbus A320 reflects the company’s objectives in continuously providing the best value for money services in the region. “Our vision is to be one of the world’s leading low-cost carriers in terms of profit margins, innovation, reputation and operational excellence. Having the A320 at the heart of our fleet is the best and quickest way we can achieve this. The aircraft has an outstanding success record throughout the world and is ideal for our needs and those of our customers,” he said.
“We are pleased Air Arabia is expanding with our A320 Family. The decision reflects the technological superiority of the A320, as well as the wider fuselage for operational efficiency and added passenger comfort with increased storage volume. The aircraft has the lowest operating costs in its class,” Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO, said.
Air Arabia already operates 11 leased A320s, and serves a network of 37 destinations across the Middle East, North Africa, Indian Subcontinent and Central Asia. Launched in 2003 and based in Sharjah, Air Arabia has served more than 5 million passengers over the past four years.
The airline – recently awarded the 2007 world airline award for “Best Low Cost Carrier in the Middle East” – completed its successful initial public offering (IPO) in March 2007, and the company shares are now traded on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM). The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognised as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly-by-wire controls and shares a unique cockpit commonality across the range. Over 5,450 Airbus A320 Family have been sold and over 3,200 delivered to some 200 operators worldwide, making it the world’s bestselling commercial jetliner ever.
With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family have the lowest operating costs of any single-aisle aircraft. In addition, the latest new cabin design saves on weight and offers the passenger a quieter and roomier experience as well as significantly larger overhead stowage lockers.
Uniquely, the A320 Family offers a containerised cargo system, which is compatible with the worldwide standard wide-body system. Airbus is an EADS company.