When Air Arabia was formed in 2003, Sharjah was not the most obvious place to start a new airline. Its airport catered largely to smaller, less well-known carriers and it was perhaps best known as a freight facility. Additionally, Dubai's booming airport was only an hour down the road.
To chief executive Adel Ali and his team, however, it was ideal.
“Sharjah has a great catchment area: it’s near Dubai and all traffic from the northern emirates has to drive past the airport to go into Dubai,” he explained. “It’s a beautiful regional airport with a short taxiway – which allows us to trim minutes off every sector – and a long runway. People can get through the airport very quickly. And, when we arrived, it didn’t have a based airline.”