- Arabia's low cost airliner is set to launch a hub in morocco, airline's chief executive officer said.
Air Arabia which is set to bring a fleet of A320s announced that at the end of this year or early 2009, a hub would be established in Morocco's capital Rabat, providing a platform to reach Europe, other parts of Middle East and Africa.
"We don't have a firm date yet, but it is likely to be at the end of this year or early 2009," Adel Ali said.
Mr Ali said four were being delivered per year but it was likely to place an order for more A320s for the Morocco hub, which will require its own fleet and aircraft.
He said Air Arabia would also look at leasing planes to fill any gap or delays of delivery. "We'll need more aircraft for Morocco and we'll stick with the A320s as we're happy with them. It's always a good option to have a mix of leasing or purchasing," he said.
According to an agreement with Regional Air Lines, a private carrier in Morocco, Air Arabia will assume management control of the carrier and apply its business model to its management.
"Air Arabia, which has placed an order for 49 Airbus A320 aircraft to replace its current fleet of 10 leased A320s, might need more A320s for its new hub in Rabat which will require it's own fleet," Ali said.
Mr Ali said despite a challenging year for airline with fuel prices and economic downturn, carrier is expecting good profits, saying its expansion plans and aircraft orders were on track.
"While oil does put pressure on us, Air Arabia has a strong balance sheet. Middle Eastern economies are good and people are still traveling in this region," he said.
He denied any concern regarding competition posed by low cost carrier like FlyDubai which already operates in the country.
"One more airline will bring more business. There are already ten, they will be eleven. They have to work hard as well."
Air Arabia established Nepal as its second hub in January with majority-owned Nepalese unit FlyYeti.com.
Launched in October 2003 and modeled after leading American and European low-cost carriers, Air Arabia is the first and largest low-cost carrier in the Middle East and North Africa. It currently provides services to 41 destinations in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
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