TAMIL NADU

Air Arabia launches Coimbatore-Sharjah service

Staff Reporter

Airline plans to augment its fleet by another five or six within next two years

Coimbatore: The low-cost carrier in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Air Arabia, on Monday launched its first service between Coimbatore and Sharjah. The ceremony was attended by K. Hemalatha, Airport Director, Kyle Haywood, Commercial Director and Captain Saleem Zaheer, Chief Pilot of Air Arabia. Ms. Hemalatha told reporters that Air Arabia was the first international airline to commence operations from Coimbatore.

India’s national carrier, Indian, is already operating a service to Sharjah thrice a week from Chennai via Coimbatore and Kochi. Mr. Haywood said Air Arabia had a fleet of 10 Airbus A 320 aircraft and operated regular flights to 35 destinations in Armenia, Bahrain, Egypt, India, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkey and Yemen. Coimbatore was the eighth destination in India and Air Arabia already had services to Ahmedabad, Chennai, Jaipur, Kochi, Mumbai, Nagpur and Thiruvananthapuram to the Gulf with 48 flights per week, he said.

Stating that Air Arabia was looking at more destinations in India, Mr. Haywood said it had immediate plans to start operations to Bangalore. After Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai, Coimbatore is Air Arabia’s fourth destination in South India.

The airline plans to augment its fleet by another five or six within the next two years and the vision was to have 54 aircraft by 2050. Mr. Haywood and Mr. Zaheer said Air Arabia planned to operate two services a week between Coimbatore and its hub at Sharjah in October. Flights to Coimbatore would leave Sharjah at 8.05 a.m. (local time) and reach Coimbatore at 13.35 p.m. (local time) every Monday and Friday and in the return direction it would leave Coimbatore at 14.20 and reach Sharjah at 16.40 hours local time on the same days. The aircraft would have 162 seats. Beginning November, the airliner plans to increase the frequency to three flights a week. The fares start from a lowest of Rs 3,400 for one journey and for round trip all charges put together would be less than 10,000 and Air Arabia would also offer visa assistance for the travellers, Mr. Haywood said. The first inaugural flight from Coimbatore had close to 90 passengers on board. Close to 15 per cent of the airliner’s revenue came from its operations to and from India, Mr. Wood said.

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