Dubai: Budget carrier Air Arabia on Wednesday denied media reports that its joint venture, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, will focus on flights to India after the collapse of Jet Airways.
A Bloomberg report, which was then circulated by other media outlets, said that Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, a joint venture with Etihad Aviation Group, will take over most of the 100 landing slots in India that were occupied by Jet Airways. Etihad Airways held a 24 per cent stake in the now-collapsed Jet Airways.
The report was the first update to come out about Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, after Air Arabia and Etihad announced the joint venture. At the time of the announcement, both airlines said there were no details available yet on the new carrier’s operations.
The news from Bloomberg led to a 4.35 per cent jump in Air Arabia’s share prices, and the stock was the most actively traded on the Dubai bourse.
Air Arabia said in a statement that it “categorically denies” what it described as “unfounded reports” regarding Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’s plans and future operations.
“We have not issued any official statement regarding our growth strategy nor has any official interview taken place with any news agency,” the Sharjah-based carrier said.
“We are disappointed that distorted statements are made without any basis, and disclaim any merit to the false report. We will announce growth plans as such when they are finalised and through our official channels.”
In mid-October, when Etihad and Air Arabia announced a deal to establish the new airline, the companies said it would be the first low-cost carrier based out of Abu Dhabi International Airport. The legal framework around the operation of the new company is yet to be established, the airlines said at the time.
Analysts on Wednesday said that even if Air Arabia Abu Dhabi were to start flying to India, it is unlikely that the carrier would get as many as 100 slots. When an airline such as India’s Jet collapses, it becomes the role of authorities to allocate its slots to other airlines, and many carriers have already been bidding for them, analysts pointed.