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Tue 15 Nov 2011 12:42 PM

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UAE’s new airline plans to break-even within 3-yrs

Eastern Express to debut with Fujairah-Abu Dhabi flights priced at AED1,200 return

UAE’s new airline plans to break-even within 3-yrs
Eastern Express is slated to launch services in early-2012

The UAE’s newest airline, the Fujairah-based Eastern
Express, plans to offer return flights to the Gulf state’s capital starting
from AED1,200,  the carrier’s CEO told
Arabian Business.

The airline, which plans to begin operations in early-2012
with two flights daily to Abu Dhabi, hopes to break-even within the first three
years of operations, said Alex de Vos.

“The business plan
foresees a break-even within three years from the launch,” he said. “So month
25 to month 36, or somewhere in between, will be our break-even point.

The airline plans to target corporate travellers keen to cut
down the commute between Fujairah and the oil-rich UAE capital, and will be the
first commercial carrier to fly the route.

“The cost one-way [to Abu Dhabi from Fujairah] will be
AED645, and so return will be approximately AED1200. [For] the routes where we
have a monopoly we can be a little bit higher,” Vos said. “We’re not a state
legacy carrier and obviously the investors behind us are in eventually for the
money, so [ultimately] we need to make a profit.”

Eastern Express is Fujairah’s first passenger airline, and
the only commercial carrier to operate out of the Northern emirate. The $3.5m
venture is supported by three Emirati investors, including the Dubai-based
Gargash family.

The carrier will not compete with existing no-frills
airlines, said de Vos, but expects its customer base to be a blend of business
travellers and GCC tourists.

Eastern Express hopes to provide onward connections alongside an international airline, in a bid to boost ticket
sales, said de Vos, but declined to name the potential partner.

 “In the end it would
be good for us if an international carrier would fly into Fujairah, because
there is always vice versa traffic but both airlines. I know the airport is
talking to a few of the carriers, but I can’t give names,” he said.

Beginning with two flights per day to Abu Dhabi, Eastern
Express will eventually increase its service to four daily flights including
connections with Abu Dhabi’s executive airport Al Bateen.

A second route to Doha is scheduled to launch next year, de
Vos said.

The company’s aircraft will be chartered out for private use
when no flights are scheduled.

“We have sourced a number of aircraft that are suitable for
our operations and Jetstream 41 is one of them,” he said. “The contract signing
for the aircraft has not been finalised yet. It should be in all fairness if we
want to adhere to our target launch date, it should be within this month.

“All four aircraft are similar in performance and layout so
at the moment it’s just a case of fitting into the legal parameters.”

Looking forward, the airline hopes to secure routes to the Indian
subcontinent and the East coast of Africa, but has yet to confirm any
additional services.

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Chris 8 years ago

1200 to Abu Dhabi. I have seen flights from Dubai to Bangkok for similar prices. I would not imagine longivity for this venture.

Suleyman 8 years ago

Yes, odd isn't it? Over the last 20 years I've seen several failed attempts at intra-UAE commercial flights. One wonders what peculiar (non)analysis this group did to arrive at this irrational price or indeed even to imagine there is any requirement at all.

Mr Journey 8 years ago

Totally crazy for such price from Fujairah to Abu Dhabi, its cost the same price as an international flight.

gordon 8 years ago

I must be missing something as well. A taxi would be quicker and cheaper..

Perhaps the article was misleading? I seriously doubt that this is the business plan.

MM 8 years ago

I flew from Geneva to Barcelona for AED 95. Yes AED ninety five. From Kuala Lumpur to Singapore for AED 40. Yep, fourty. All above prices one-way. And they expect people to pay AED 600 for a one way Abu Dhabi to Fujairah.

If they are really serious and would like to boost passenger numbers and attract tourism, prices need to be re-worked.

Ali 8 years ago

Agree, even now Etihad is offering 1200 Dhs to Kuala Lumpur as an offer price. The reasoning used (800 dhs by taxi) is absurd as a family of 3 can travl at 800 dhs while flying will cost them 3600 dhs ..

Dipti Bhatt 8 years ago

I think this is really crazy. No one will prefer to go to fujairah at the rate of international like Emirates offering dubai-mumbai return fare in 1200/-. Emirates is the best. They should not run aircraft as no one will be interested in fly from Fuj-AD in this rate and they have to close down the business after struggling to get business.

make sense 8 years ago

No body is talking about their plan to have international flights in future.. I think they used this route to get quick license and would focus on international flight when they get that permit too.. I guess they have also plan to capture potential segments of business traveller given strategic plan to relocate Fujairah as Oil transportation hub while pulling some international traveller from AD Airport... I guess it makes sense with these assumptions!

well wisher 8 years ago

This need should ideally be addressed by Etihad rail. Until that arrives on scene a netjets style fractional jet service could fill the gap...

The inconvenience of running on the airlines schedule instead of your own and then going through check in and security need to be factored in on the total time taken as well.

Good luck eastern express... but on this route at least, your days may be numbered.

Greg 8 years ago

I guess it makes sense. AD - Fujairah takes at least 4 hours on the road with a taxi price of AED450. So AED 600 for the trip and saving more than 2 hours would be worth it. True, not the regular low cost prices but then no low cost carrier operates this route so it is either taking them or nobody at all.