New Air Arabia arm to operate from several Egyptian cities

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Middle Eastern budget carrier Air Arabia is expecting to operate from multiple bases in Egypt through its newly-created local carrier.

Air Arabia Egypt is still engaged in preparatory organisational work but still hopes to begin services in time for the summer 2010 schedule, serving European, Asian and African routes.

Speaking to ATI during the Arab Air Carriers Organization conference in Jeddah, Air Arabia chief Adel Ali indicated that the new airline would operate from Alexandria and a Red Sea station as well as Cairo.

"Egypt has different needs," he says, in contrast to the single bases established by Air Arabia in Sharjah and Morocco. The new Egyptian arm

Air Arabia Egypt will use Airbus A320s but Ali says that the fleet strategy has yet to be fully finalised. But he says the carrier will probably start with two aircraft initially.

While Air Arabia has several A320s on order, these were not originally intended for the Egyptian operation and, in any case, will only start arriving in the fourth quarter of 2010. Ali says the initial capacity will be leased in, but he is not ruling out a possible increase in Air Arabia's order backlog.

Although Ali declines to disclose the precise shareholding structure of Air Arabia Egypt - which is being established in partnership with local tour specialist Travco Group - he says there is an agreement in place under which Air Arabia will have management control.