Sharjah-based low-cost carrier Air Arabia is to take control of Moroccan carrier Regional Air Lines and open its first overseas base at Moroccan capital Rabat.

Air Arabia says it will convert privately-owned Regional Air Lines from a regional carrier operating ATR turboprops into a low-cost carrier operating Airbus A320s. The deal with Regional shareholding company Holmarcom gives fast-growing Air Arabia access to southern Europe, Africa and additional destinations in the Middle East.

Bahraini financial institution Ithmaar Bank is backing the deal, with a capital injection for Casablanca-based Regional. The Moroccan carrier will undergo a change of name and fleet expansion after the deal is completed, which is expected by year-end.

Air Arabia currently serves 40 destinations from Sharjah with 10 A320s and has been looking for some time to establish a second base. It has just ordered 34 additional A320s and also plans to add at least 10 more leased A320s.

Source: Airline Business