Pakistani business conglomerate Lakson Group is planning to launch a new airline “Fly Jinnah” as a joint venture with the Air Arabia group of United Arab emirates. Fly Jinnah will be based out of Karachi and initially, it will serve domestic routes before it is granted permission to fly international routes. Initially, the airline will create synergy to provide feeder traffic to Air Arabia that connects travellers to its wider network through its hub in Sharjah.
The airline has not secured its Air Operating Certificate (AOC) and it will start work on that soon. After that, it will be allowed to operate and announce its schedule and fleet. But knowing the Air Arabia all-Airbus fleet is safe to say that the airline will operate an Airbus narrow-body fleet. And there are 9 Airbus A320 of Air Arabia that are parked and could be utilised for this new joint venture. And it is also safe to say that the airline will start operation on trunk routes competing with PIA, Airblue, Serene Air and Air Sial on Lahore to Karachi and Islamabad to Karachi routes.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia said that “We are delighted at Air Arabia Group to partner with Lakson Group on this joint venture to launch Pakistan’s new low-cost carrier and directly contribute to the local economy through job creation and the development of travel and tourism sector,”.
Air Arabia Group
Air Arabia flies to 170 destinations in Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa and has four hubs in Casablanca and Alexandria. It has a fleet of 43 aircraft including 37 Airbus A320s and 5 Airbus A321s. Out of these 43, 10 aircraft are parked including one Airbus A321 and 9 Airbus A320s. Air Arabia, Egypt has a fleet of 4 Airbus A320s while Air Arabia Maroc has a fleet of 9 Airbus A320s. Air Arabia Abu Dhabi has only 2 Airbus A320s.
Air Arabia Group is the parent company of Gulf Low-cost giant Air Arabia and it has subsidiaries in Abu Dhabi, Egypt, and Morocco. This will be the fourth subsidiary of the Air Arabia group. The new carrier will follow the low-cost business model. Recently Air Arabia announced to form a joint venture with The Armenian National Interests Fund (ANIF) to launch ‘Fly Arna.’
The Lakson Group
The Lakson Group is a Pakistani business group founded in 1954 and is owned by the Lakhani family. It is based out of Karachi and is currently chaired by Iqbal Ali Lakhani. The company has a diversified business portfolio and has its interests in agri-business, call centres, consumer non-durables, fast food, financial services, media, newspaper and board, printing and packaging, surgical instruments, technology (data-networking, BPO, and software) and travel. The group owns Express News Paper and Express-News Channel in Urdu and Express Tribune newspaper in English. The company has a chequered history of abruptly shutting down its business in the past like the magazine, English new channels and many others ventures.