Air Arabia plans to place an order for at least 20 narrowbody aircraft around mid-year using proceeds from its just-completed initial public offering. According to chief executive Adel Ali, the Sharjah-based low-cost carrier began discussing a potential new aircraft order with Airbus and Boeing earlier this year and will decide between the Airbus A320s and Boeing Next Generation 737s by July.

"We're right now negotiating and talking with both Airbus and Boeing," Ali told Flight International's sister publication Airline Business. "We hope to decide by mid-year."

Ali says Air Arabia has not decided how many new aircraft to order, but it will possibly be between 20 and 30, plus options that will be exercised if Air Arabia accelerates growth at Sharjah or opens an additional base.

The A320 is considered the frontrunner because Air Arabia operates a fleet of A320s. But it does have the flexibility to switch to 737s because its A320 leases are due to expire between 2009 and 2013.

Air Arabia 
© Stuart Uaigu   

Source: Flight International