UAE could be a hub for budget carriers

These are exciting times for air travel in the region with airlines diversifying their operations.

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Published: Wed 23 Oct 2019, 10:08 PM

Last updated: Thu 24 Oct 2019, 12:09 AM

The UAE's mature airline industry makes it attractive for new players to move here and set up hubs for global operations. The country is an aviation powerhouse and foreign and home airlines are taking note as they keep an eye on costs and find ways to fly to new destinations with more passengers. Dubai gave wings to endless possibilities in this sector when it launched Emirates, which is now among the most successful airlines in the world. The carrier has set benchmarks for travel with its soaring ambition and imagination. It's been a pioneer and has helped reimagine flying in the modern era. Flydubai followed and the aviation race was on in the region which was good business. Passengers loved the experience. Etihad launched from Abu Dhabi in the premium segment and Air Arabia has been a success story from Sharjah. Emirates has given new meaning to air travel and has been part of Dubai's diversification strategy since 1985. The city and country would never be the same again. While Emirates continues to be a global leader, there's some major action in the low-cost sector with new alliances taking shape in the country.

The aviation infrastructure and maintenance facilities in this country are among the best in the world and it is natural for carriers from other parts of the world to fancy their global chances from here. Indian budget carrier Spicejet's plans to open a hub in the northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah and start an airline in six months is proof that smaller emirates are also attracting attention on the global aviation map. South Asia, particularly the Indian market is growing and operators are coming into their own after a rough decade. Spicejet hopes to tap into the booming Indian market and make it easier (and cheaper) for travellers heading to Europe as Ras Al Khaimah's tourism industry gets a boost. A transit hub, therefore, fits in nicely with the carrier's plans as it expands and ventures out of its home base. Last week, Etihad and Sharjah-based Air Arabia also announced plans to launch a budget carrier from the capital. These are exciting times for air travel in the region with airlines diversifying their operations and venturing into new territory. Flying on a budget can be fun after all.

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