By Andy Sambidge
Low cost carrier says it will launch thrice-weekly flights to Urumqi next month; eyes further expansion
UAE-based low cost carrier Air Arabia said on Monday it plans to launch its first flights to China next month.
The company said it will become the first budget airline from the Middle East and Africa to enter the Chinese market when its starts flights to Urumqi, the largest city in Western China, on February 10.
Located in the Xinjiang district of China, Urumqi is a modern industrial city of 3.3 million people and a major transportation hub in the region.
"The Chinese aviation sector has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years and we are delighted to be the first low-cost carrier from the MENA region to play an important role in this incredible story," said Adel A Ali, Group CEO, Air Arabia.
"We have had our eye on the Chinese market for some time and are now ready to begin regular services to one of the world's great economies. With a large population, strong economy and vibrant cultural scene, Urumqi represents an exciting first Chinese destination for us and we hope to add more routes over time.
"This is a major move for Air Arabia and an important step in strengthening connectivity between the rapidly growing economies of the Middle East and Asia."
Air Arabia will fly three times weekly to Urumqi from its main hub in Sharjah. Flights will depart Sharjah International Airport on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Recently, Air Arabia has seen its flight network expand with new routes to Cairo in Egypt and Antalya in Turkey.
The carrier currently operates from five international hubs, including the UAE, Morocco, Egypt and Amman, Jordan.