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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Air Arabia to start new low-cost airline in partnership with Pakistani investor

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An Air Arabia aircraft seen on the tarmac in this AFP file photo.

DUBAI: Pakistan’s Lakson Group and Middle Eastern budget carrier Air Arabia said on Friday they would launch a low-cost airline serving domestic and international routes from Pakistan.

The new carrier, Fly Jinnah, will operate as a joint venture between the pair, they said in a statement, adopting the low-cost model operated by Air Arabia.

The statement said the new airline would help Pakistan’s travel and tourism sector and contribute to the country’s economic growth and job creation.

Flight operations will first be limited to domestic travel, and will subsequently be expanded to accommodate international flights.

Iqbal Ali Lakhani, Chairman of Lakson Group, said: “We are excited to partner with Air Arabia in launching Pakistan’s new low-cost carrier. Fly Jinnah will serve Pakistan’s travel and tourism sector and will play a constructive role in contributing to the nation’s economic growth.” 

He added: “This partnership also reflects our commitment to support the development of Pakistan’s air transport sector while providing the citizens and visitors of the country with a new option of value for money air travel. Air Arabia enjoys a track-record of reliable and efficient operations, and we look forward to working closely towards launching and developing the new airline.”

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia, said: “We are delighted at Air Arabia Group to partner with Lakson Group on this joint venture to launch Pakistan’s new low-cost carrier. We are confident that Fly Jinnah will add value to the air transport sector of Pakistan and directly contribute to the local economy through job creation and the development of travel and tourism sector. We thank Lakson Group and the Government of Pakistan for their trust and we look forward to working hand in hand to develop the new airline, which will serve as a new value-for-money air travel option for the country.” 

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who met with Sheikh Al Thani, welcomed the group to Pakistan and wished them success in establishing Fly Jinnah.

“My government is committed to attracting investment in Pakistan’s burgeoning travel and tourism sector which offers immense opportunities,” he said.

Air Arabia operates from Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates, and has similar joint ventures in Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Morocco and Armenia. Its shares are listed on the Dubai Financial Market.

The airline has been pushing ahead to expand in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak last year as low-cost carriers bet on a post-pandemic surge in travel.

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