Air Arabia Group has entered into a joint venture agreement with Pakistani conglomerate Lakson Group to launch a new low-cost carrier, Fly Jinnah (FJL, Karachi Int'l), with a launch expected in early 2022.

"We are confident that Fly Jinnah will add value to the air transport sector of Pakistan and directly contribute to the local economy through job creation and the development of travel and tourism sector," Air Arabia Group Chairman Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani said.

Fly Jinnah will be based out of Karachi Int'l, where Lakson Group is headquartered. It will initially focus on Pakistani domestic routes before expanding internationally at a later point in time. The two partners did not outline further details concerning the start-up's fleet, network, or exact launch timeline. They underlined that Fly Jinnah would begin its certification drive shortly.

Air Arabia Group and Lakson Group did not specify the shareholding structure of Fly Jinnah. However, Pakistani control and ownership laws limit the involvement of foreign entities to a maximum of 49% of the paid-up capital, with effective control remaining in the hands of Pakistani citizens or entities.

Fly Jinnah is named after Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and the country's first governor-general.

The Sharjah-based holding has been actively seeking new market opportunities beyond its original Sharjah-based carrier, Air Arabia. In July 2021, it formed a joint venture with the state-owned Armenian National Interest Fund (ANIF) to establish FlyArna in Armenia. In 2020, it launched its second airline in the United Arab Emirates, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, as a joint venture with Etihad Aviation Group. Air Arabia also has JVs in Morocco (Air Arabia Maroc) and Egypt (Air Arabia Egypt).

According to the ch-aviation PRO airlines module, Pakistan - a country of over 200 million inhabitants - has just four relatively small scheduled passenger airlines: flag carrier PIA - Pakistan International Airlines and privately owned AirBlue, AirSial, and SkyLink Express. Alvir Airways secured its Operating Licence in July 2021 but has yet to commit to a specific launch timeline.