First Routes For New Air Arabia Abu Dhabi

Filed Under: Etihad, Other Airlines

It’s a bizarre time for aviation in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi Is Getting Two New Low Cost Carriers

Etihad Airways has been struggling financially, and in 2017 the airline began a five year transformation plan. Last I heard, Etihad hopes to be profitable by 2023(!!!), and in the meantime continues to rack up huge losses. Since 2016, the airline has lost over five billion USD.

The airline is government owned, and in the meantime government money is being used to launch two new low cost carriers in Abu Dhabi:

Technically these two projects are with separate organizations, but ultimately all of the money for this is coming from the same pockets, which is why this is so confusing.

My guess is that they’re hoping to increase access to Abu Dhabi, though without a doubt new low cost carriers will put even more downward pressure on Etihad Airways’ yields.

Air Arabia’s First Routes

I’ve been curious to see what routes these two airlines plan to launch. While tickets aren’t yet on sale and we haven’t even seen a formal announcement for that matter, @airlineroute notes that Etihad has preliminarily loaded some Air Arabia flights into their schedule.

As of late March 2020, Etihad shows the following destinations for Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, all flown with A320s:

  • Abu Dhabi to Almaty 3x weekly (Etihad flew here until October 2016)
  • Abu Dhabi to Dhaka 1x daily (Etihad flew here until September 2018)
  • Abu Dhabi to Faisalabad 1x daily
  • Abu Dhabi to Jaipur (Etihad flew here until February 2018)
  • Abu Dhabi to Kiev 3x weekly
  • Abu Dhabi to Multan 1x daily
  • Abu Dhabi to Peshawar 1x daily (Etihad flew here until December 2014)
  • Abu Dhabi to Taif 4x weekly
  • Abu Dhabi to Tbilisi 1x daily
  • Abu Dhabi to Yanbu 3x weekly
  • Abu Dhabi to Yerevan 4x weekly

These flights aren’t yet for sale, though likely will be soon, if flights are to launch in just a few months.

All of these are destinations not currently served by Etihad, and for that matter some of these are destinations that Etihad recently abandoned as part of their restructuring. So at least it’s smart that they’re not duplicating route networks.

Bottom Line

It’s going to be interesting to see how these two low cost carriers in Abu Dhabi unfold in the coming months. No matter what, I don’t see this being good news for Etihad.

A single carefully crafted low cost carrier might not be terrible for Etihad, serving destinations that they otherwise can’t fly to. However, to see two Abu Dhabi-backed low cost carriers forming in the market at once is… puzzling.

What do you make of the first routes for Air Arabia Abu Dhabi?

  1. That means, Etihad will be reduced to a long haul full service carrier while it’s Air Arabia brand will function as a short and medium haul regional low cost carrier focusing on Central Asia, Indian Subcontinent, Eastern Europe, Middle East and North African markets.
    I think it is time for UAE to have a united legacy carrier meaning Etihad merges with Emirates.

  2. Off topic, but Muilenberg at Boeing has just been fired. Maybe some accountability finally? Or to save face…

  3. This illustrates why,vwhen airlines tell us not to worry about aviation’s role in climate change because it’s only 3-5% of current emissions, that argument is ridiculous.

    Aviation that grows using current technology could be about a quarter of our carbon budget to stay within 2 C of warming within a decade.

    Airlines like this are why.

  4. I believe your excellent reporting on all airlines is commendable. I’m just confused why you give certain countries – who are not equal in their belief towards everyone – the time of day

  5. Good Analysis !!!!!
    Recently Emirates has added one more daily flight to Dhaka
    all other destinations will be good for AUH

  6. I need to buy a round trip ticket from DAY to DPS …can leave Jan1-3 and return Jan 11-13…any suggestions …must be economy as I have to buy a ticket for 2. Thank you !

  7. “though without a doubt new low cost carriers will put even more downward pressure on Etihad Airways’ yields”

    i doubt this statement very much !

    as you imply in your final paragraph, these low cost carriers could provide useful feeder traffic into AUH (on routes that are too thin for EY mainline) for onward flights on EY. leading to *higher* yields for EY.

  8. I dont get it why Etihad stopped the very lucrative Dhaka route and instead transferring to the low cost Air Arabia?
    Dhaka was profitable for Etihad as it targeted mainly the labor market and the large Bangladeshi expatriates in North America and Europe. I remember, Dhaka passengers enroute to London, New York and Toronto preferred to travel with Etihad as economy class fares were cheaper than Emirates and Qatar Airways.

  9. @Debbie McClory I just did a quick search on Kayak looks like American Airlines & Cathay Pacific are the cheapest economy option, via Dallas & Hong Kong, around $1,540USD return.

  10. No no this is actually smart – I think they’re going to route Air Arabia flights to destinations not served by Etihad. This isn’t an initial avoidance of route network duplication, I think it’s actually indicative of long-term plans. This means they get more profit through this new low-cost network while not stealing passengers from ‘mainline’ Etihad flights.

  11. great news for jaipur passenger. good for us those who living in Abu Dhabi to travel to jaipur.

    good luck..

  12. Very nice,,before there is no direct flight from Abu Dhabi to Multan,Pakistan and i have to go by connecting flight and now its easy for those who living in abu dhabi,,

  13. If air arabia can add Abu Dhabi to tiruchirapalli (TRZ), it will be benefit for both the people and air arabia. Daily hundreds of people flying to TRZ from from abu dhabi are going by dubai and sharjah airports only.

  14. hi, i hope air Arabia Abudhabi will start for colombo, srilanka now etihad and srilankan airline operating but its to costly for middle class people ..

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