Air Arabia plans to launch its first flights to China in early 2014 and is seeking regulatory permission to operate into new markets in West Africa.
The airline's chief executive Adel Ali tells Flightglobal Pro that following successful negotiations between the UAE and Chinese governments, Air Arabia has been granted permission to operate its first routes to the People's Republic.
But Ali says there are still "a lot of logistical challenges" before the new services can begin.
Without revealing the names of the intended destinations, Ali says they will need to be within a five- to six-hour range of Air Arabia's Sharjah base. He does not rule out Chengdu and Kunming as possible candidates for services.
The Gulf-based low-cost carrier is meanwhile eyeing expansion into West Africa from its Casablanca hub.
"We have to get the approval from the Moroccan government to allow us into West Africa," says Ali, adding that the decision will "not be an easy one" for Moroccan authorities, given that it would introduce competition with Royal Air Maroc, which already operates into several airports in the region.
Air Arabia is also continuing to look at growth opportunities in the CIS countries, Russia, Pakistan and Iran, says Ali.