Air Arabia's new joint-venture airline with Armenia named Fly Arna

The Yerevan-based carrier will apply for an airline operating certificate within the 'coming weeks'

 SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – April 6:  Air Arabia plane at Sharjah International Airport in Sharjah. (Pawan Singh / The National) *** Local Caption ***  PS10- AIR ARABIA.jpg
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Armenia's new airline, a joint venture between UAE-listed Air Arabia and the Armenian National Interests Fund, or Anif, has been named Fly Arna and will apply for its air operator certificate in the coming weeks.

Fly Arna, which derives its name from Armenian National Airlines, is expected to contribute to Armenia's tourism, hospitality and business travel segments, according to a joint company statement on Wednesday.

“Despite the current challenges of the pandemic, we are confident of the new opportunity that exists for Fly Arna to deliver a winning proposition that will benefit the nation and our people," said David Papazian, chief executive of Anif.

In July, Air Arabia Group signed an agreement with Anif to launch Armenia’s new national airline. The Sharjah-based group took 49 per cent stake in the joint venture and will manage the business, Adel Ali, Air Arabia group chief executive, told Bloomberg TV last month.

Mr Ali revealed that the Armenian budget airline, which will begin operations in the summer of 2022, would lease aircraft to "close the gap" until Air Arabia receives its order of 120 Airbus narrow-body jets in 2024.

Air Arabia had advertised for jobs at the Armenian venture, including for cabin crew, pilots and administrative positions, he said at the time.

The Armenian travel and tourism sector accounted for about 11.8 per cent of the country’s economic output in 2019 and 12.5 per cent of total employment, Air Arabia and Anif said in an earlier statement.

The new Armenian airline will become Air Arabia's second joint venture airline project.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, a joint venture between Air Arabia and Etihad Airways, was unveiled more than a year ago in July 2020 with a maiden flight to the Egyptian port city of Alexandria from its base at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Air Arabia operates five aviation bases in Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Egypt and Morocco.

The airline swung to a quarterly profit as revenue more than quadrupled and passenger traffic increased across its five bases amid a gradual recovery in air travel from the Covid-19 pandemic.

It posted a Dh10 million ($2.72m) net profit in the three months to June 30, compared with a Dh239m loss in the same period a year earlier. Quarterly revenue was up 313 per cent to Dh496m.

Updated: September 01, 2021, 11:08 AM