DUBAI, (Reuters) – The ruler of Dubai has ordered the creation of a new low-cost airline to serve the growing number of passengers travelling through the Gulf trade and tourism hub, the official WAM news agency said on Tuesday. Dubai, one of seven emirates comprising the United Arab Emirates, already has the largest Arab airline, Emirates, which will run the new low-cost airline.
The new carrier plans to lease or buy single-aisle aircraft and will begin operations within a year, Emirates chairman said.
“There is a need for it in the region,” Shaikh Ahmed bin Saaed al-Maktoum told Reuters by telephone, adding that it will fly to destinations between four to four and half hours away from Dubai.
The neighbouring emirate of Sharjah is home to Air Arabia AIRA.DU, the Middle East’s biggest low-cost carrier.
WAM said Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also the prime minister and vice president of the UAE, said the new airline should price its services to passengers based on “the economic and living conditions to suit their incomes.”
Dubai International Airport, the busiest airport in the Middle East, saw international passenger traffic grow 19 percent last year. It handled 34.34 million passengers.
Dubai is building a new airport on the other side of town that it expects will be the biggest in the world.
Ghaith al-Ghaith, executive vice president for commercial operations at Emirates, has been appointed chief executive of the new airline, which will be part of the Emirates group.