Air Arabia’s Jordan Deal Brings Prospect of Low-Cost EU Flights

Air Arabia bought a 49 percent stake in Jordan’s Petra Airlines, opening up the possibility of low-cost flights from Amman to Europe tapping local accords that go beyond those negotiated by its native United Arab Emirates.

“Jordan has open-skies agreements with Europe, which is a very attractive situation to be in,” Chief Executive Officer Adel Ali said in a phone interview, adding that services will commence with five or six routes to other Middle Eastern cities using two Airbus Group NV A320 jets.

Amman will be Air Arabia’s fifth hub after Sharjah -- its base -- and Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE, together with Egypt and Morocco. Petra Airlines will be renamed Air Arabia Jordan and managed by Air Arabia, though Rum Group, which founded it in 2005, will keep a 51 percent stake, according to a statement.

Air Arabia delayed plans to establish a hub in Jordan for years due to the global financial crisis and the Arab Spring.

“While the economic instability cycle continues up and down across the world, we see political stability in Jordan getting better,” Ali said. He declined to reveal the value of the deal or say who will manage the new business, adding that an outside executive could be brought in.

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