Air Arabia looks to increase capacities on current sectors in India
Kahini Chakraborty – Mumbai
Air Arabia, the largest low-cost-carrier in the Middle East and North Africa, is looking at increasing its seat capacities from the 13 airports in India that it already operates into. The airline is in continuous dialogues with the Indian government for offering them opportunities for growth. After successfully completing a decade of operations in the India market, as part of its expansion, the airline is looking at operating out of tertiary markets to offer direct connectivity to travellers to different regions of the world.
Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Adel Ali, group CEO, Air Arabia said, “It has been an excellent journey for us as we will be completing a decade of successful operations in the India market. Going forward, just as we have used our tactical approach in identifying our Tier II markets in the beginning of our operations, we want to expand into tertiary markets as well. We would like to grow further, but subject to the Indian government’s approval to obtain approvals for more seats. We need increase in capacity from the airports that we already operate into. We will grow as much as the Indian government wants us to, and if they offer us opportunities we will grow.” The airline offers flights from its hub in Sharjah to Ahmedabad, Chennai, Jaipur, Kochi, Mumbai, Nagpur, Coimbatore, Thiruvanathapuram, Hyderabad, Kozhikode, Delhi and Goa. The airline has been unable to get clearances from the Indian government to operate on the Calicut to Ras al Khaimah sector, which has been pending for a long time.
Air Arabia achieved financial breakeven from first year of operations and has been profitable since then. Air Arabia’s net profit for the first nine months of 2014 stood at AED 498 million, up 46 per cent compared to AED 341 million reported in the corresponding period of 2013.
Talking about the load factors on the sectors that it operates into the India market, Ali said, “We have been seeing healthy load factors and we want to maintain our market share by further expansion. Even when long-haul travel was affected last year due to the economic crises, Air Arabia did not witness any downfall in the load factors from the India market. That also could be due to our limited capacities. But as economies drive the ups and downs, these are all momentary. India is up for growth. For the Calicut-Ras al Khaimah sector, talks are still in the primitive stages and once issues are resolved between the governments of both the countries we will start operations.” The airline will also be receiving delivery of six Airbus 320s this year and next year another six A320s, as part of its order of 44 Airbus 320.