Just Planes – World Air Routes – Air Arabia

General Information

AirArabia_Cover_500 Title: Air Arabia
Aircraft(s): Airbus A320-200
Destinations: Aleppo (ALP), Assuit (ATZ), Dammam (DMM), Riyadh (RUH), Sanaa (SAH) and Sharjah (SHJ)
Format: DVD (and Download)
Director: Tommy Mogren
Year of Release: 2005

Air Arabia at a Glance

Air Arabia is a low cost airline established on 3rd February 2003 and based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. It is credited as being the first low-cost airline in the Middle East. Their first flight was on 28th October 2003 between Sharjah and Bahrain on an Airbus A320-200. Air Arabia currently operates a fleet of 38 Airbus A320’s and serves 51 destinations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Central Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and Europe. Air Arabia have joint venture airlines in Egypt (2010), Morocco (2009) and soon in Jordan (TBA -2015?). In 2014, Air Arabia established another base in the UAE at Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) airport and serves destinations in MENA and the Indian subcontinent.

A Detailed look at the program

The program starts at the Sharjah (SHJ) ramp where we watch Air Arabia’s A320s in action. The CEO of Air Arabia – Adel Ali, welcomes us and gives us a brief introduction to his airline. He goes into a fair bit of detail on the business model, the product, the fleet and the destinations.

We then head out for our first flight – a round trip to Riyadh (RUH) with Capt. Hardy. A routine flight, but the highlight in this segment is after we return back to SHJ. While we taxi to the gate we get see some Russian birds SHJ is famous for. The next trip is to Aleppo (ALP) with Capt. Alhamer. We fly on Air Arabia’s newest aircraft (A6-ABD) having arrived from the factory just 2 days back. Highlights of this segment include views of the landmarks of Dubai like the Burj AL Arab, the Palm Islands and the World Islands after take-off from SHJ. After this segment, there is an interlude where we meet the head of planning and revenue optimization, and the head of marketing and distribution who both speak about their job.

We get back into the cockpit for a round trip to Sanaa (SAH) with Capt. Hardy. Highlights of this segment include a look at the cabin service. Interestingly, there was a passenger travelling with four falcons. The passenger poses with the falcons and so does our director Mr.Mogren (I think it’s him) 🙂 Our descent into SAH is very scenic with great views of the city and the surrounding mountains. As we taxi to the gate, we see a lot of old rare birds of Yemenia (like the Boeing 727 and other Russian birds). This segment is followed by an interlude where we meet the Chief pilot of Air Arabia who tells viewers about the fleet, the routes and the pilots.

The next segment is a special one, it’s a round trip to Dammam (DMM) with Capt. Haytham. We watch the pushback and watch the engines being turned on one-by-one from the pushback tractor. We then watch the take-off from the ground after which we head to the jump seat in the flight deck to catch great views of Dubai’s skyline. Our return trip to SHJ is in the cabin (wingview). We head to the galley and follow the crew as they prepare and serve the customers. This segment is followed by another interlude where we get a quick tour of Sharjah presenting landmarks like the King Faisal mosque, the corniche, the cultural roundabout and the central souk (marketplace). There’s also a promo for the Radisson SAS hotel. The final flight – a rather short segment – is a round trip to Assuit (ATZ) with Capt. Alhamer.

My two cents

Having lived in the UAE for about 10 years and having flown Air Arabia in 2007 (Link: SHJ – BOM on Air Arabia 2007), I just had to get this program. The program presents the fledgling airline as a young, professional, diverse and a multicultural workplace – much like how the Middle East is come to think of it. The destinations we fly to in this program are ones very few get a chance to visit. Considering the current state of affairs – I would like to specially mention the flights into Aleppo and Sanaa – a treat to watch. For flight simmers who are looking to learn about the A320’s flight deck, this may not be the program for you as there are no detailed tour of the flight deck. The closest we come to a tour is in the SHJ – ALP – SHJ flights, where Capt Alhamer gives us an overview of the onboard systems. The approach briefings can be useful in planning your next simulated flight. My only complaint is that the program didn’t include footage of the Al Mahattah Museum as an interlude (Link: My visit to the Al Mahattah Museum – opens in a new tab). Aviation in the UAE goes all the way back to the 1930’s and the region’s first airport was in Sharjah. The current airport is at a different location but a part of the original airport (the control tower and the airport motel) has been converted to a museum. I do hope Just Planes includes this segment the next time they get a chance to work with Air Arabia 😉 .

The Air Arabia program is only available as a download from the Just Planes Video’s website. I would recommend this program to anyone interested in learning about the low-cost airline model in the Middle East or if you are interested in watching flights into some exotic Middle Eastern destinations.

Well, there you have it folks, that’s my review of the Air Arabia program by Just Planes Videos. I hope you enjoyed it and until my next post… Happy Landings!!!

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