Air Arabia Abu Dhabi (3L, Abu Dhabi Int'l) secured its Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) from the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) on April 23, 2020, the carrier said in a press release.

The joint venture between Etihad Airways (EY, Abu Dhabi Int'l) and Air Arabia (G9, Sharjah) said it will now work together with the GCAA to "finalise the launch date as market conditions improve and skies are open again". Air Arabia Abu Dhabi initially planned to launch in March this year but had to defer this due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In early March, the Chief Executive of Etihad Aviation Group, Tony Douglas, said the owners were then looking at a mid-May launch. Later reports have mentioned June 2020 as a more likely date of first flights.

"We are pushing ahead with our plans to resume normal flying and once we have, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will ideally serve those who wish to explore new destinations from the capital, meeting the growing demand for low-cost travel in the region and complementing Etihad’s own global network. Just as importantly, it will make the amazing sights and experiences of Abu Dhabi accessible to many more visitors from currently unserved markets," Douglas added.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi has yet to file schedules or even announce its initial network and fleet plans. Early schedule data that was filed in December 2019, but later removed, suggested that the carrier was looking at using A320-200s to connect its Abu Dhabi hub with cities in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Ukraine, and Georgia.