Former Malaysia Airlines, Flybe and easyJet executive Paul Simmons has joined Gulf-based low cost carrier Air Arabia.

He has been appointed chief commercial officer of the Sharjah-based airline which runs a fleet of more than 40 Airbus A320s with hubs in the UAE, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan.

The airline operates from Gatwick to Casablanca and serves more than 100 destinations across the Middle East, north Africa, Asia and Europe.  

Simmons will have the overall group commercial responsibility for sales, marketing, e-business, Air Arabia holidays, revenue management and cargo sales.

At the same time, strategy and government affairs director, Tony Whitby, is taking on extra responsibility for implementing a business efficiency programme at the carrier. 

Whitby will also be working to develop future expansion plans and investment opportunities into potential new businesses, according to Air Arabia Group CEO Adel Ali.

“While at present our business continues to do well, we have to prepare for the future; the economical and political challenges are bringing changes to all businesses specially the airline industry and it is important that we are fully geared up at all level to protect our future,” he said.

“I am confident that with the existing management team and today’s additional enhancement it will put us ahead to meet the challenges of the future.”

Simmons said: “The airline’s geography spans from the UK in the west, China in the east, Kenya and Sri Lanka in the south, and Russia and Nepal in the north.

“It has been continually profitable since inception 15 years ago, and is well positioned for future growth.”