Low cost airlines demand 'budget airports' to cut costs

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Dubai, June 5 (UNI) Gulf-based low-cost carriers, which were on a roll till the crude price hike reduced their profits, demanded buget airports to lower operating expenses.

They called for an end to airport service monopolies in the region as they seek to lower operating expenses amid soaring fuel costs.

The chief executives of Sharjah-based Air Arabia and Saudi airline Sama said budget airlines have to pay high bills for airport services such as catering and fuel because they do not have a chance to pick a service provider.

These airlines would like to operate out of dedicated low-cost airports rather than 'five-star' airports serving both full-service airlines and low-cost ones, Air Arabia's Adel Ali said at Airport Show in Dubai.

''We need low-cost airports, not five-star airports that invest a lot in design than technology,'' he said.

Mr Ali said low-cost carriers have become a key part of the region's air travel industry and the market's growth potential would be lost if facilities to support budget airlines were not developed.

CEO Andrew Cowen of Sama, the Saudi Airline also wanted airports to avoid ''over-investment'' as it lead to costly airport charges from users.

He criticised ''a general lack of best practice'' in providing ground services as mostly there was a single company in control of businesses at regional airports.

Other than Sama and Air Arabia, budget airlines from Bahrain and Kuwait have been popular in the region. Emirates has also announced it will start a no frills airlines to stave off competition from the segment.


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