Air Arabia eyes 100-jet order this year after record 2017 profit

Updated 07 March 2018

Air Arabia eyes 100-jet order this year after record 2017 profit

BENGALURU: Middle East budget carrier Air Arabia will add more destinations and could order around 100 narrow-body aircraft this year, thanks to rising demand in Egypt and other hubs, Chief Executive Adel Ali said on Wednesday.
The expansion from the United Arab Emirates’ only publicly listed airline comes amid rising oil prices and after a year in which Air Arabia’s profit increased 30 percent to a record 662 million dirhams ($180 million), as it flew more passengers and operated more routes.
The airline is considering placing new orders for the first time in several years to support future growth.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to be a purchase order. The leasing market is pretty good,” Ali said in an interview in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru.
In November, Air Arabia announced a leasing agreement for six Airbus A321neo long-range jets from US-based Air Lease Corp.
“Our technical team and financial team are working with both Boeing and Airbus,” Ali said.
The Sharjah-headquartered airline currently operates an all-Airbus A320 narrow-body fleet of around 50 jets.
Ali did not rule out a deal for CSeries jets made by Canada’s Bombardier, though suggested a preliminary agreement by an airline Air Arabia now partly owns was no longer valid.
Petra Airlines, in which Air Arabia bought a 49 percent stake three years ago, signed a letter of intent with Bombardier in 2014 to buy up to four CSeries jets in a deal worth up to $300 million at list prices.
“Petra as an airline was finished a long time ago. That’s history. Everything that was there is gone,” he said.
Petra was rebranded Air Arabia Jordan in 2015 with the opening of Air Arabia’s fourth hub in Amman.
Ali said Air Arabia would sharpen its focus on Egypt this year as demand increases.
“We see the tourists coming back, trade is coming back. We have slowed down in Egypt for some time now because of geopolitical and economic uncertainties. We now see certainty there,” he added.
The carrier also expects to grow in Russia and some former Soviet states this year. The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia, which is expected to spur demand.
Air Arabia plans to add more routes in India, Ali said. The airline already operates a handful of routes in the country, a booming aviation market.

Carlos Ghosn brings executive training to troubled Lebanon

Updated 30 September 2020

Carlos Ghosn brings executive training to troubled Lebanon

  • Former Nissan and Renault head says programs will boost jobs market and help rebuild crisis-hit country

BEIRUT: Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan and Renault head who fled Japan where he was facing trial, is launching a university management and business program in Lebanon, a nation mired in a deep crisis blamed on years of misrule, mismanagement and corruption.

Nine months after his dramatic escape to Beirut from Tokyo, the Lebanese-French executive has unveiled a plan to shake up the business school at the Universite Saint-Esprit de Kaslik (USEK), a private university north of the Lebanese capital.

Ghosn, credited with turning round the Japanese and French carmakers before he faced charges of financial wrongdoing that he denies, plans programs to coach top executives, offer technology training and help startups that will create jobs.

Ghosn, a fugitive from a Japanese justice system he says was rigged against him, has found refuge in his childhood home Lebanon where the economy is collapsing under debts amassed since the 1975-1990 civil war. A devastating blast in Beirut on Aug. 4 compounded Lebanon’s woes.

“Obviously I am not interested in politics but I will dedicate time and effort into supporting Lebanon during this difficult period,” he told Reuters at the weekend, ahead of Tuesday’s formal launch during a press conference of his new university program.

“This is about creating jobs, employment and entrepreneurs to allow society to take its role into the reconstruction of the country,” Ghosn told a press conference at USEK on Tuesday.

Ghosn, who was approached by USEK in the weeks after arriving in Lebanon at the end of December, said the programs aimed to offer practical help. He will help supervise.

Drawing on his experience, the focus for the executive program would be turning around companies in trouble, corporations struggling with a troubled environment and how to “make yourself invaluable” in a company.

Ghosn said several international executives had agreed to give pro bono courses, such as Jaguar and Land Rover CEO Thierry Bollore, former Goldman Sachs vice-chairman Ken Curtis and venture capitalist Raymond Debbane.

The short courses, expected to start in March, would be open to 15 to 20 senior executives in Lebanon and the Middle East.

“The role model is my experience, what I think are the basic needs of a top executive in a very competitive environment,” he said, adding that, when he was in charge, Nissan’s executive training program in Japan had been open to other companies.

The second USEK program, subsidised by the executive program, would train people on new technologies, such as computer-assisted design and artificial intelligence.

Ghosn said Lebanon’s jewelry exporters were among those who would benefit from the use of software to help with designs.

The third program would act as an incubator for start-ups, and he aimed to invest in two projects. “I am mainly interested in projects that have environmental impact,” he said, citing the example of a project to turn sewage into fertilizer.

“You are creating entrepreneurs which are badly needed, you are creating employment,” he said, adding he had been persuaded to work with USEK by the president of the Maronite Christian institution, Father Talal Hachem, and his young team.

Ghosn said he had also chosen to work with USEK, rather than some of the bigger Lebanese universities, because he liked the idea of working with an institution that drew in a broad range of students, not just the wealthy.

“These students need help more than anybody else. This is the class that has been smashed by the situation today,” he told Reuters.

“I’m going to help in the way I can,” he said. “I’m going to help build the economy by helping to solve problems that every Lebanese is facing today.”