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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, January 22, 2018

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Air Arabia confirms Petra Airlines acquisition was done with existing capital

Jordan as a safe, advance business model

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SHARJAH, UAE - The CEO of Air Arabia Adel Ali told the Middle East business newspaper Gulf News on Sunday that the airline's latest purchase of a controlling stake in Jordan's Petra Airlines was fully funded by the company's own capital, without the use of banks or the stock market.

The airline, which is based in the United Arab Emirates' city of Sharjah is listed on the Dubai Financial Market, but Ali said that sale of shares did not contribute to the purchase of a 49% stake in Petra, which has been rebranded as "Air Arabia Jordan".

Ali told Gulf News that Air Arabia is "very cash-strong" and that the acquisition was comfortably affordable given the company's finances, however he refused to reveal the value of the deal.

Jordan's geographical location between the Middle East and Europe will provide Air Arabia Jordan with the potential to fly anywhere. Ali said the airline will fly to a number of Middle Eastern airports, and will look into various cities in Europe and North Africa.

The Air Arabia CEO confirmed his confidence in Jordan's geopolitical stability, after the company had delayed earlier plans to launch a hub in Jordan due to the Arab Spring and the global financial crisis.

"It was a combination of coming out from a global financial recession, and going into the Arab Spring where one was not sure what was happening," says Ali. "I think there's much more clarity in the geopolitical situation. We see Jordan as a safe, advance business model, and we've always had interest in the place to do business."

Air Arabia was founded in 2003 and has grown rapidly into a leading low-cost carrier in the Middle East, competing with Dubai-based Fly Dubai. It currently flies to 89 destinations in the Middle East, India, North Africa, Central Asia and Europe.

Air Arabia operates an all-Airbus fleet of 35 A320-200 airliners and has ordered 15 more with plans to continue its rapid expansion. Petra Airlines at the time of its acquisition operated two A320-200 aircraft on routes serving 11 destinations.

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