Sharjah's Air Arabia, the first and only low-fare airline in the Middle East and North Africa, is to be the first international airline to operate between Sharjah and Nagpur in Maharashtra, India.

The Indian Government has confirmed that Air Arabia has been granted rights to fly to Nagpur from Sharjah.

Speaking to the Indian media in Nagpur yesterday, Praful Patel, Indian Minister Civil Aviation declared, "We are delighted to announce that Air Arabia will be the first international airline to start services to Nagpur."

Adel Ali, Air Arabia's CEO, said, "The Gulf-India market is important to us and we are pleased to be part of the expansion and development of this market.

"We are continuing in our strategy to open new routes and especially those that are underserved internationally like Nagpur."

He added, "We can now offer Indian nationals in the region the opportunity to go home or travel for business more often at lower fares.

"We look forward to welcoming customers residing in the Gulf states and students studying in and around Nagpur that have not been able to afford air travel in the past to start travelling and those who do travel to do so more frequently."

Once the operations take off, Air Arabia will be the first scheduled international airline to operate to Nagpur.

The operations will benefit passengers as well as trade and commerce from the nearby cities like Indore, Aurangabad, Bhopal, Jabalpur and other cities around Nagpur by connecting them to the Middle East.

Air Arabia will start operations to Nagpur three times a week in the second half of October to help people travelling home for Eid.

Air Arabia offers up to 40 per cent lower fares than traditional airlines and the fare structure is based on supply and demand, therefore booking early will allow customers to take advantage of the lowest available fares.

Air Arabia launched its operations to India on March 26, with daily flights between Mumbai and Sharjah. This route has been immensely successful with an average load-factor of 95 per cent.