The nascent Arab airline alliance Arabesk Group, has taken a further step towards becoming a real entity late last week with the creation os a set of rules and the appointment of airline computer systems specialists Sabre Airline Solutions to coordinate the network.

Arabesk was formed last year by seven non-aligned carriers (Egyptair, Bahrain's Gulf Air, Middle East Airlines from the Lebanon, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Tunisair and Yemenia Yemen Airways) from the Arab world. Last week the airlines met to sign the articles of cooperation, formalising membership rules, governance and dispute resolution.

The group has also announced a deal with Sabre as technical service provider, continuing an earlier contract to study the financial viability of the cooperation.

The carriers have already started co-operating on flights and each will have code-share flights and special prorate agreements (SPAs) with other members during the Summer 2006 schedule period.

"I am pleased to have Sabre Airline Solutions consulting, together with our organisation, play an important role in developing this intra-regional co-operation," said Abdul Wahab Teffaha, secretary general of the Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO).

AACO says other airlines have expressed interest in membership. The region's largest carrier Emirates has declined to join the group so far.

Source: Flight International