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Air Arabia to double fleet to support Abu Dhabi tourism

Air Arabia CEO Adel Al Ali Wam
Despite the ongoing challenges, 2023 continues to be an 'extraordinary' year for the airline industry, says Adel Al Ali

Air Arabia intends to double its current fleet capacity within the next 12 months to support Abu Dhabi’s leisure and business tourism market, group CEO Adel Al Ali said.

“Tourism is one of the key pillars of the UAE economy. Abu Dhabi is an emirate with solid destination appeal and our enhanced fleet size will continue to support the current robust inbound tourism,” he said in a statement published by the UAE state-run Wam news agency.

In 2022 15.9 million guests travelled through Abu Dhabi, more than three times the 5.26 million who visited in 2021. 

“Doubling the fleet strength will be crucial to meet growing passenger demand for low-cost travel as the city records a new wave of tourism growth.”

The Abu Dhabi Tourism Strategy 2030 aims to attract 23 million tourists annually by 2030. Abu Dhabi is the largest, and capital, of the seven emirates that make up the UAE.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi is diversifying its business and investing in innovative services to grow its market.

The carrier pursues the same business model adopted by Air Arabia Group, which is headquartered in the emirate of Sharjah and focuses primarily on the low-cost market.

“The ongoing expansion plans will help service more rapidly growing markets as the emirate (Abu Dhabi) attracts a steady growth of business and leisure travellers.”

Al Ali said that despite the ongoing economic challenges and geopolitical concerns, 2023 continues to be an “extraordinary” year for the airline industry. 

“The industry is now recovering from its supply chain challenges, and the pent-up demand for travel worldwide is continuing to drive growth,” he noted.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and Air Arabia launched a joint venture in October 2019 to establish a low-cost passenger airline with its hub in Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Currently, Air Arabia Group has a fleet of 68 new Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. The airline reported a net profit of AED342 million in Q1 2023, up 17 percent from AED291 million a year earlier.

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) expects the global airline industry’s profit to reach $9.8 billion in 2023 from $4.7 billion in 2022, driven by strong travel demand and an easing in oil prices.