Djibouti Air to connect Dubai six times a week

All aircraft to offer business, economy class travel

By NAdia Saleem, Staff Reporter
00:00 March 4, 2011

Dubai: Djibouti's national carrier Djibouti Air made its inaugural flight to Dubai yesterday evening, carrying the new youngest airline CEO in the world on the flight.

Owned by the government of Djibouti and a UAE private investor, the airline will fly six-weekly flights from Djibouti to Dubai.

"We've signed our third aircraft and will be flying all 737s. All aircraft will have a two-class configuration of Business and Economy class," airline chief executive Shabab Attarzadeh told Gulf News in an exclusive interview.

Within the first six-months, the carrier will launch flights to Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen and Kenya.

Subsequently, it will expand into Europe and East Asia, while increasing frequencies to Middle Eastern countries. It will be receiving its two 737s in the next four months, officials said.

"We've had great support from the airport authorities in Dubai and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and we're extremely proud that the vision of the President of Djibouti to launch a national carrier has finally turned into a reality," he said.

Bringing in passengers from neighbouring countries of Ethiopia and attracting transit passengers from Dubai, the airline, in the first month of operations, should be able to service 1,500 passengers, Attarzadeh said.

"Dubai is a very important market for us. We're connecting remote areas of Africa to Dubai, which in turn connects them to the rest of the world," he said. Early last month, the GCAA signed an ‘open skies' agreement with Djibouti that would allow a number of airlines and scheduled air services between the two countries.

Attarzadeh said the airline's approach to ensure success is to be a customer-centric company, in the sense that it would allow passengers to recommend their needs and incorporate them into airline's service.

"You are a success if the passengers are on your side. We have seen that in the Middle East."