Air Arabia
The launch date for the new Abu Dhabi based budget carrier will be finalised shortly. The airline, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, has just picked up an air operating certificate. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s new airline in the making, has received the “Air Operating Certificate”. This allows it to start operations from Abu Dhabi as the country’s fifth carrier.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will continue to "work closely" with the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to finalise the launch date as market conditions improve and skies are open again.

Saif Al Suwaidi, Director-General of GCAA, said in a statement: “While the global aviation industry continues to face its greatest challenge due to the impact of COVID-19 on air traffic movement, today’s announcement reflects the strength and confidence of the UAE’s aviation sector and its long-term prospects.

“The UAE is a global air travel hub, and we continue to provide our residents and visitors with multiple options to stay connected and explore the world.

“Today’s announcement serves as another testament to the investments made by the UAE in strengthening its aviation sector.”

Same business model

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi has been assigned the reservation code 3L by International Air Transport Association (IATA). It was formed following an agreement between Etihad Airways and Air Arabia for an independent joint venture company. It will operate a low-cost passenger airline with the Abu Dhabi International Airport as its hub.

The new carrier will complement the services of Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi and cater to low-cost travel in the region.

"We are pushing ahead with our plans to resume normal flying and once we have, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will ideally serve those who wish to explore new destinations from the capital," said Tony Douglas, Group CEO, Etihad Aviation Group. "Just as importantly, it will make the amazing sights and experiences of Abu Dhabi accessible to many more visitors from currently unserved markets."