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Sun 18 Jan 2015 07:09 PM

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Air Arabia may lease aircraft after Jordan expansion - CEO

UAE-based budget carrier announced this month it had bought a 49% stake in Jordan's Petra Airlines

Air Arabia may lease aircraft after Jordan expansion - CEO
Air Arabia

Dubai-listed low-cost carrier Air Arabia could lease aircraft to expand capacity into Europe and North Africa instead of ordering new planes, its chief executive said on Sunday.

The budget carrier announced this month it had bought a 49 percent stake in Jordan's Petra Airlines, which will be rebranded as Air Arabia Jordan.

It ordered 44 Airbus A320s in 2007 and 29 of those had been delivered by November 2014, according to Airbus data. It will take delivery of six A320s in 2015, and it also leases another eight of the same type of aircraft.

But those orders had not factored in the Jordan purchase, Air Arabia chief executive Adel Ali told Reuters on the sidelines of an aviation conference.

"If we want to expand, there are hundreds of leasing companies," Ali said, adding Air Arabia Jordan operations should begin by the end of March. Starting with two aircraft initially, Ali said the business would grow gradually.

It will operate from Amman's Queen Alia International Airport, which will be its fourth base after Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, Alexandria and Casablanca.

"Jordan was something we wanted to do since 2010 but we were just coming out of the crisis and then the Arab Spring slowed us down," Ali said.

"Now there is more clarity. We have management control of Air Arabia Jordan and Amman is a nice location between Middle East and Europe."

From Jordan, which has an open skies policy with Europe, the carrier will fly to locations in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Air Arabia currently flies on around 100 routes.

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