Ending the year on a profitable note – nasair
Setting sights high: Captain Francois tells Kipp about the major changes for nasair in 2013. . .
May 12, 2013 11:36 by Muhammad Aldalou
Captain François could barely mask his excitement when speaking about Dubai World Central, saying he believes the launch will truly strengthen ties with Dubai to provide better services to customers and that the growth they’ve enjoyed is a testament to an increase in demand for affordable travel. “We believe that this launch will encourage increased air traffic to the Middle East, especially to Dubai, and further afield to neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia,” he says.
When Akbar Al Baker, chief executive officer at Qatar Airways, was asked – for the millionth time, as he put it – whether he would ever consider launching and operating a low-cost carrier, he said only when existing budget airlines begin to erode his market share. And that hasn’t happened yet, he insists.
“Actually, I think that’s happening already,” laughs Francois. “If I’m not mistaken, the percentage of growth and penetration of low-cost carriers in the UAE was about 23 per cent last year, so is it eroding the market share? I think so.”
When asked about the future of low-cost carriers in aviation, Francois tells Kipp that budget airlines continue to evolve and that nasair is now looked upon as a hybrid carrier because passengers are offered the lowest – and most affordable – options, but that the airline is also flexible in bundling other services. “It’s all about choice,” he says.
Since October 2012, nasair has also been in a codeshare partnership with Etihad, and as the CEO says, is not a very traditional move as far as low-cost airlines go.
According to Business Monitor International (BMI), the number of tourists heading to the kingdom is expected to reach 15.8 million by 2014.
On a side note, the airline had yet another milestone to celebrate earlier this year after hitting one million fans on its Facebook page. Last year, the carrier received several awards for its presence on social media, including “Best Interactive Facebook Page”.
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