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Mon 22 Oct 2007 01:37 PM

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Master plan

Marwan Boodai on Jazeera Airways' latest route launches, and silencing low-cost carrier critics.

Marwan Boodai on Jazeera Airways' latest route launches, silencing low-cost carrier critics and establishing new partnerships.

Which new destinations will Jazeera Airways fly to in the coming months?

We have new routes from Dubai and much awaited routes from Kuwait to Jeddah and Riyadh starting on October 27th. We will also be flying non-stop to the Maldives from Dubai, non-stop to Beirut from Dubai, and we will increase our Dubai to Mumbai service to seven non-stop flights per week.

Why launch routes to these destinations?

We promised the market that we are committed to Dubai, the Middle East and travellers within the region. We couldn't just sit quiet and fly from one point to another and that's it. We had to be creative and offer more to our passengers and customers. We will be flying non-stop to Beirut four times a week from October 27th and seven flights a week from January 16. We have many passengers travelling with Jazeera Airways from Dubai through Kuwait to Beirut and we had to exploit it. The Maldives is just a stone's throw away and we will be flying twice a week. We are also going to Mumbai with non-stop daily flights starting on October 27 from Dubai. Flights to Saudi Arabia will start from Kuwait, so passengers from each country can fly twice a week to Jeddah and Riyadh from October 28th and January 26th respectively. They are our 22 and 23 destinations announced in 22 months.

When you have seven-star airlines in our region, your model has to be just below and you can’t have the bottom end of the low-cost model.

Why announce new services on the anniversary of 9/11?

It's just before Ramadan and people think afterwards where they should go. We made sure that we were a day before Ramadan. If we can guess whether it's not Ramadan tomorrow we could do it then, but we had to make sure we were one day before.

What other plans do you have?

Another partner that we have recently introduced is insurance company AIG. It's an added service that Jazeera brings to its passengers, with additional insurance for travellers beyond what we cover at Jazeera Airways. It will give comfort, ease and peace of mind to travellers that when they leave home, go on vacation, go on business they always have the comfort of a worldwide organisation that will give them the support for all their insurance needs and services. Travel Guard covers our travellers against unforeseen circumstances such as lost baggage, missed flights, theft of personal items and other incidents that can potentially ruin a holiday. It is optional and has a one-time fee average of US$10.

Having enjoyed significant growth since 2005, how does it feel to silence critics of low-cost carriers?

The low-cost model is not a one size fits all. You need to have global models and localise it to our region. When you have seven-star airlines in our region your model has to be just below and you can't have the bottom end of the low-cost model. That's why we buy new aircrafts which are purchased and not even leased. We have signature leather seats to Jazeera Airways and entertainment systems - that's the edge we offer and that's how we proved all critics wrong. That's also how we expanded the airline.

Why were people so sceptical about low-cost in this region?

They were not. It was just the critics who were really the competition that were sceptical about it. All the market really appreciated the product that we were offering, especially when you upgrade brand new aircrafts and that's the edge that gives you the push forward. You can reduce your costs, have the best reliability on your safety and maintenance with brand new aircrafts and that's what we have done. We have committed to our customers by placing the largest A320 order in the Middle East with Airbus. We are the largest A320 customer in the Middle East and Airbus are even flying our aircraft. That's another stamp of confidence we have.

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