The Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has conferred national carrier status on Air Arabia Abu Dhabi (3L, Abu Dhabi Int'l) ahead of the start-up's launch later this quarter.

Minutes of a January 5 meeting of the Council of Ministers, as the chief executive body is more commonly known, in the capital Abu Dhabi said the move would "enhance civil aviation in the country" and "allow the aviation sector to keep pace with future development plans and directions."

National carrier status allows an airline to enjoy the full rights and privileges accorded to operators under a nation state's constitution.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi (AAAD) is a joint venture between Etihad Airways (EY, Abu Dhabi Int'l), which is itself wholly-owned by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and Air Arabia (G9, Sharjah), which is based in Sharjah but owned by various Emirati and foreign entities. Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, the Director-General of UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), told Gulf365 last week that AAAD is on track to complete its Air Operator's Certification (AOC) ahead of its proposed March 29 debut.

As previously reported, the LCC's initial fleet will require a pair of A320-200s to serve cities in Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Armenia, India, Pakistan, Ukraine, Georgia, and Saudi Arabia from its Abu Dhabi Int'l hub. It is the first of two LCCs to be based out of the Emirate alongside Wizz Air Abu Dhabi (5W, Abu Dhabi Int'l) which is tentatively due to launch during the second half of this year.