01 August 2011
Less than eight years after its first flight, Air Arabia announced today that it has welcomed onboard its 20 millionth passenger, demonstrating the enormous appeal of the first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC) in the Middle East and North Africa.
Air Arabia’s first flight took off from Sharjah, UAE, to Manama, Bahrain, on October 28, 2003 - marking the introduction of the LCC concept to the Middle East. At the time, the carrier served five regional destinations. By the end of its first 12 months of operations, the pioneering airline carried 500,000 passengers to 16 different destinations. Twenty million passengers later, the airline has expanded its reach to serve 66 destinations from three hubs in the UAE, Morocco and Egypt, winning countless accolades along the way. The airline served nearly 4.5 million passengers from Sharjah last year alone, and currently operates a global fleet of 27 new Airbus A320 aircraft.
Twenty million passengers is equivalent to flying the entire population of many nations as a comparison and would fill 123,000 Air Arabia aircraft. Lined up nose to tail, those aircraft would stretch nearly 5,000 kilometres.
“Eight years ago – when our first flight took off from Sharjah International Airport, at a time when the low-cost model was just introduced to the region – few of us could have imagined the day when we would cross the 20-million passenger mark,” said Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia. “The tremendous growth of Air Arabia since then is testament to our single-minded focus on providing our passengers with a growing range of destinations, great service and value-for-money fares”.
“Today, despite serving over 20 million passengers, we remain a young company committed to further expanding our horizons,” he said. “On behalf of everyone at Air Arabia, I would like to thank the 20 million people who have chosen to fly with us – and I look forward to welcoming onboard the next 20 million in the years to come.”
Entering its eighth successful year of operations, Air Arabia legacy remains in changing the whole air travel philosophy in this region and redefining the way residents and visitors travel in the Middle East; not to mention, creating a niche market for intra-regional air transport. Air travel today is a commercial commodity driven by low fares, convenience and destinations of choice.