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Tue 23 Mar 2010 12:42 PM

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Air Arabia plans to open Egypt hub next month – CEO

EXCLUSIVE: Low-cost carrier to deliver first A320 aircraft to Alexandria today.

Sharjah-based low-cost carrier (LCC) Air Arabia is planning to start commercial operations from its third hub in Egypt by the end of next month, according to the firm’s chief executive. “We’re hoping commercial flights will start before the end of April,” Air Arabia CEO Adel Ali told Arabian Business on Tuesday.

“Today, we’re sending our first plane to Egypt, so the process is happening right now,” he continued.

“Egyptian civil aviation personnel are here at the moment, and the plane is being registered in Abu Dhabi, together with a full maintenance check. It will then fly to Egypt for a few days of tests,” added Ali.

The chief executive confirmed that when the process of testing and registration was complete, a specific date for launch would be announced in the next ten days.

Air Arabia’s third hub in Alexandria is positioned between its other two bases of Sharjah and Casablanca, in Morocco, which opened last year.

It has not yet announced which destinations will be served from the Egypt hub.

The carrier’s full-year results showed that profits were down by 11.3 percent to $123m, still higher than had been predicted by analysts.

Turnover in 2009 fell 4.5 percent to $544m. In the company’s annual general meeting on Monday, Air Arabia confirmed a ten percent cash dividend to its shareholders.

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