Sharjah defers airline launch
The proposed Sharjah Airlines, which was to have taken off recently, has postponed its launch due to mounting international tensions, according to a Sharjah aviation official.
The carrier might now take off later this year or early next year when the situation improves. "We were on the verge of launching the airline, but September 11 changed everything," said the official on condition of anonymity.
"We are now awaiting the right moment to launch. All preparations are in place, but we will wait till the situation improves."
Sharjah aviation authorities however declined official comment.
Sharjah has been mulling the launch of its own carrier after Dubai's launch of Emirates airline in 1985, with the move having gained momentum over the past year.
With Abu Dhabi having a stake in Gulf Air, the proposed Sharjah airline will be the UAE's third - even as Fujairah on the east coast may revive its plans to launch a fourth, in partnership with an international airline already operating in the UAE.
"We have already acquired three aircraft on lease from three firms in India, Pakistan and Iran, and these will initially form the core of our fleet," the Sharjah official said.
Initially named Union Airlines, the authorities later changed it to Sharjah Airlines, primarily to avoid confusion, he explained.
"We have now changed it further to a new name, and also the logo, which is very symbolic to the emirate," he added.
The airline is meanwhile in touch with a neighbouring emirate for investment.
"Negotiations are on with another emirate for possible finance to carry out fleet expansion, once the airline is launched. Plans are also afoot to have close operational and technical collaboration agreements with some central Asian carriers," he said.