Dubai: The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said it was “confident” that the establishment of a fifth local airline will boost growth opportunities in the country’s tourism and aviation sectors.

Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of the GCAA, said that the low-cost carrier model has proved to be successful in the UAE, and the newly-announced Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will have strong opportunities for growth.

His comments come after Etihad Aviation Group and Air Arabia announced on Wednesday a joint venture to launch a low-cost airline based in Abu Dhabi.

“We are confident that this step will lead to the creation of a new entity specialised in low-cost transport, which is needed in the Abu Dhabi market and in the region,” he said in a statement.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi is yet to receive a licence from GCAA to operate flights, but Al Suwaidi said that the Authority has provided the necessary resources to allow the joint venture to complete the procedures to obtain a licence. He said the GCAA is working to help the company “commence operations as soon as possible.”

Air Arabia and Etihad have not yet announced a launch date for the new carrier.

The GCAA added that the creation of a new entity will provide passengers with more choices, especially for those in the Gulf region.

Already, the UAE has four carriers; Emirates, Etihad, flydubai, and Air Arabia, which are all operating in a challenging environment amid slower growth in passenger demand. In 2017, Emirates and flydubai announced a partnership, and later, Emirates started working with Etihad on back office operations.