New UAE budget airline makes its first flight

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi flew to Alexandria today and is now offering low-cost flights to Egypt as airlines in the Gulf country show signs of recovery.

al-monitor An Emirates Boeing 777-31H aircraft takes off from Dubai International Airport on April 6, 2020, as the airline Emirates resumed a limited number of outbound passenger flights after its coronavirus-enforced stoppage. Photo by KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images.

Jul 14, 2020

The newest airline in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) completed its first flight today. Airlines in the Gulf country, which has two major transit hubs, are starting to show signs of recovery from the global travel crisis.

The aptly named Air Arabia Abu Dhabi flew from its base in Abu Dhabi to Alexandria in Egypt on Tuesday. It will also fly to the Egyptian city Sohag on the Nile River tomorrow, the state-run Emirates News Agency reported.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and the budget carrier based in Sharjah Air Arabia. The airline received permission to fly from the Emirati government in April. Both Etihad and Air Arabia continue to operate independently as well.

Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE are major international transit hubs, offering connecting flights around the world. Airlines in the country have experienced major losses during the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent decrease in international travel. Etihad Airways announced it was cutting hundreds of jobs in May. Emirati authorities grounded most passenger flights in March amid the pandemic but allowed air travel to resume in May.

The carriers are now starting to rebuild their flight networks. Etihad Airways added more destinations in June following the resumption of transit flights through the country. Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’s first flights to Egypt further indicate airlines in the Gulf country may continue to resume operations around the region and world.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi seeks to be a budget carrier like Air Arabia but based in the capital city of Abu Dhabi and not Sharjah. Additional flights to Egypt from Abu Dhabi are available via Air Arabia’s website.

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