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Budget Arab airline takes to the skies

THE city-state Dubai launches its second government-run airline today - the third major carrier this decade to spring from the United Arab Emirates, a country of less than a million citizens.

The new low-cost airline will cater to budget travelers.

Dubai will launch its new airline, FlyDubai, with daily flights to Lebanon and Jordan this week. Service to Syria and Egypt will be added later. The airline will compete not only against full-service carriers but also against Air Arabia, a budget airline operated out of Dubai's neighboring emirate Sharjah.

Both discounters have big plans. FlyDubai has 50 new Boeing 737s booked at a cost of about US$4 billion at list prices.

Air Arabia late last year ordered 10 more Airbus A320s - on top of a previous order for 34 of the single-aisle planes.

It just opened a second hub in Morocco in April, with its sights set on the European market.


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