Air Arabia plans low-cost JV with Sudan Group

Khartoum is to be the site of UAE-based Air Arabia’s latest African venture.

A320s over Sudan

A320s over Sudan: Air Arabia Sudan will operate the aircraft, but whether they will come from the parent company’s fleet is, as yet, unknown. Picture: Air Arabia.

Sharjah-based low-cost carrier (LCC) Air Arabia, which already has sister companies in Morocco and Egypt, is developing a series of joint venture airlines.

Fly Arna and Fly Jinnah began services in 2022 in Armenia and Pakistan respectively. Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, a partnership with Etihad Airways, has already expanded to nine aircraft and is scheduled to grow to 20 by the end of 2023.

In Sudan, Air Arabia will partner with DAL Group, a local conglomerate with interests in the automotive, earthmoving, energy and industrial gases sectors.

The new airline will be known as Air Arabia Sudan and will mimic the low-cost model.

It will be based at Khartoum International Airport and use Airbus A320s, although it is not yet known if the new airline will fly aircraft from Air Arabia’s existing order book, or whether more will be needed. Work on securing the relevant approvals and licences is under way.

The size of the new Sudanese airline’s fleet, timescales for starting operations and details on shareholdings and route networks will be released “in due course”, the two companies said.

“Our decision to partner with a leading pioneer of low-cost air travel is driven by our core commitment to perpetually contribute towards realising Sudan’s long-term human and economic growth and development potential,” said DAL Group chairman, Osama Daoud Abdellatif.

“Given Sudan’s rich national cultures, rarely publicised yet fascinating ancient history, and breath-taking topography, our nation enjoys a unique untapped potential, and we are therefore steadfastly committed to developing the diverse aspects of Sudan’s tourism, travel, cargo transport, and aviation infrastructure sectors.”

Attracting foreign direct investment to Sudan is aimed, at least partly, at improving employment opportunities. Sudan is one of Africa’s poorest nations.

The new joint venture will face competition from several existing Sudanese carriers.

Sudan Airways has struggled for several years and is currently thought to operate only a single A320 and a leased Bombardier CRJ200. Two privately owned companies, Tarco Air and Badr Air, operate fleets of around 10 Boeing 737s, mainly Classic models with a few -800s.

Alan Dron

Alan Dron

Alan Dron is air transport editor at Arabian Aerospace for which he has written since its launch.