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UAE’s Air Arabia signs JV deal to launch new Pakistan low-cost airline


The UAE-listed Air Arabia Group and Pakistan’s Lakson Group formed a joint venture to launch a new low-cost carrier serving domestic and international destinations from the South-Asian country.

The new carrier, Fly Jinnah, will be based in Karachi to initially serve domestic routes across Pakistan before expanding its route network internationally, Air Arabia said.

“We are confident that Fly Jinnah will add value to the air transport sector of Pakistan and directly contribute to the local economy through job creation and the development of the travel and tourism sector,” Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia, said.

The new Pakistan-based airline marks Air Arabia’s third joint venture deal to establish a new airline after announcing similar deals in Abu Dhabi in July 2020 and in Armenia in July. The Sharjah-based airline has been pushing ahead with expansion in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic last year as low-cost carriers bet on a recovery in air travel demand amid rapid vaccine campaigns around the world.

The new airline will contribute to Pakistan’s economic growth and job creation, while providing the country with “reliable and value-for-money” air travel, Air Arabia said.

“Fly Jinnah will serve Pakistan’s travel and tourism sector and will play a constructive role in contributing to the nation’s economic growth,” Iqbal Ali Lakhani, chairman of Lakson Group, said.

“This partnership also reflects our commitment to support the development of Pakistan’s air transport sector while providing the citizens and visitors of the country with a new option of value-for-money air travel.”

The partners will soon start the process of securing the air operating certificate, which allows the airline to start operating, according to the statement.

More details about the launch date, fleet size and destination network will be announced in due course, Air Arabia said.

The air transport industry, including airlines, their supply chain and tourism spending, is estimated to contribute $3.3 billion to Pakistan’s gross domestic product, according to the aviation industry lobby group International Air Transport Association (Iata). In total, one per cent of the country’s gross domestic product is supported by inputs from the air transport sector and foreign tourist arrivals.

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