Photo used for illustrative purpose.
Mian Mujahid Shah, Staff Reporter
Sharjah-based carrier Air Arabia announced on Friday that in collaboration with Pakistan's Lakson Group, they would start a low-cost airline called "Fly Jinnah."
The new budget airline will serve domestic and international routes from Pakistan, a statement issued by Air Arabia.
Air Arabia and Lakson Group said in a statement that the new airline will benefit Pakistan's travel and tourism sector, as well as contribute to the country's economic growth and job creation.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed the decision and said on Twitter, “I welcome Air Arabia Group to Pakistan & wish them success in their partnership with local investors to establish a new Pakistani airline, FLY JINNAH.
"My govt is committed to attracting investment in Pakistan's burgeoning travel & tourism sector which offers immense opportunities.”
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia, said that "Fly Jinnah” will initially be based in Karachi, serve many domestic routes through Pakistan, and then expand the network to international routes. Air Arabia chief said "Fly Jinnah" will adhere to a low-cost business model and provide a solid customer base and value-added products.
"We are delighted at Air Arabia Group to partner with Lakson Group on this joint venture to launch Pakistan’s new budget airline. We are confident that the new budget carrier will add value to the air transport sector of Pakistan and directly contribute to the local economy through job creation and the development tourism sector,” Al Thani said.
Air Arabia Chairman further said that we thank the Lakson Group and the Pakistani government for their trust and look forward to working together.
Iqbal Ali Lakhani, Chairman of Lakson Group, said: "We are also excited to partner with Air Arabia in launching Pakistan’s new low-cost carrier. The new budget airline 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 offers locals and visitors alike a new air transport option with good value for money. Air Arabia has a history of reliable and efficient operations and we look forward to working closely with the launch and development of the new airline."
Air Arabia operates from Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, 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.
Air Arabia, the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier, now offers direct flights between Sharjah and Vienna. The non-stop six-hour flight to Vienna, will operate four times a week, on Sundays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays,
The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that two airlines, Q-Airlines and Fly Jinnah have completed the process with the authorities, while Jet Green Airlines is still in the scrutiny process.
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