Air Arabia expands footprint in China with Urumqi flights

Air Arabia will fly three times a week, with departures from Sharjah International Airport on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Starting next month, the airline will fly non-stop routes to Urumqi, the largest city in western China. Sarah Dea / The National
Starting next month, the airline will fly non-stop routes to Urumqi, the largest city in western China. Sarah Dea / The National

Air Arabia will start flights to Urumqi in China’s Xinjiang region, as the Sharjah-based low-cost carrier expands its geographic footprint into the Chinese nation.

Starting next month, the airline will fly non-stop routes to Urumqi, the largest city in western China, the company said in a filing to the Dubai Financial Market.

“We have had our eye on the Chinese market for some time and are now ready to begin regular services to one of the world’s great economies,” said Adel Ali, the group chief executive at Air Arabia. Air Arabia will fly three times a week, with departures from Sharjah International Airport on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Air Arabia’s shares, which are closely held by foreign investors, have surged since the rapid decline in oil prices amid bets that the carrier will benefit from cheaper jet fuel. Air Arabia’s shares have bucked the overall trend on Dubai’s broader market, with the stock up 39 per cent since October 16 compared with a decline of 8.6 per cent for Dubai’s equity index in the same period. The tumbling price of oil represents a major windfall for airlines worldwide, with fuel accounting for more than a quarter of industry costs.

The International Air Travel Association in December predicted that airline profits would surge by more than $5 billion to $25bn this year. Airlines were expected to post profits of $19.9bn for 2014.

Earlier this month, Air Arabia acquired a 49 per cent stake in Jordan’s Petra Airlines to gain access to Amman. The city’s Queen Alia International Airport will become the low-cost carrier’s fifth global hub – to add to its existing Sharjah, Casablanca, Alexandria and Ras Al Khaimah operations. Petra Airlines will be rebranded as Air Arabia Jordan during this quarter, the carrier said this month.

halsayegh@thenational.ae

Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter

Published: January 19, 2015 04:00 AM

SHARE

Most Read