Emirates to launch low-fare airline


Dubai : Emirates, the world’s ninth largest airline, will soon launch a low-fare airline to cater to the growing passenger traffic to and from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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The new airline will be set up following instructions to Emirates from Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum here Tuesday, according to the state run WAM news agency.

“Services will be of low-cost economically out of Sheikh Mohammed’s sincere keenness to ease burden of living conditions of passengers and enable them to reunite with their families and relatives at home,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Emirates Group and head of Dubai Civil Aviation, said in a statement, adding that the order would be put into immediate effect.

Sheikh Mohammed envisaged the new aviation company as “a bridge for love and interaction between the UAE and other sisterly and friendly countries”, according to the report.

The Dubai ruler has named Ghaith Saeed Al Ghaith as chief executive of the new airline company.

According to Sheikh Ahmed, the new airline will operate under the Emirates airline group and will be an integral part of it.

Low-fare airlines are in great demand in the Gulf because of the large number of expatriate workers, especially in the construction sector.

There are around 5.5 million Indian workers across the Gulf and 1.4 million of them are in the UAE alone.

Apart from the Dubai-based Emirates, UAE has three other airlines – the Abu Dhabi-based Ettihad Airways, the Sharjah-based low-fare Air Arabia, the Middle East’s first such carrier, and the newly launched Ras Al Khaimah Airways or RAK Airways.

From flying its first routes out of Dubai in 1985 with two leased aircraft, Emirates today flies to over 100 destinations in 62 countries with its fleet of 113 aircraft.

In fiscal 2006-2007, Emirates carried 17.5 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo.

The airline’s current aircraft order book stands at 244 aircraft, with a total value of around $60 billion.

Dubai International Airport, the hub of Emirates, handled 34.3 million passengers in 2007, an increase of 19.3 percent from the previous year.