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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

Sharjah's Air Arabia reports 57% jump in Q3 net profit

The low-cost carrier also reported record nine-month net income as passenger numbers grew 11 per cent
Air Arabia reported a 57 per cent increase in third quarter profit as passenger numbers grow 10 per cent. Antonie Robertson/The National

Air Arabia, the only listed carrier in the UAE, reported a 57 per cent surge in its third quarter net income on the back of a rise in the number of passengers carried.

Net profit for the three months ending September 30 climbed to Dh471 million, the airline said in a statement on Sunday evening. Quarterly turnover climbed by 12 per cent year-on-year to Dh1.44 billion, it added.

The no-frills airline served 3.4 million passengers from its operational hubs in the UAE, Morocco and Egypt, an increase of 10 per cent on the same quarter last year. Average quarterly seat load factor – or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats –stood at 82 per cent.

“Air Arabia’s record performance in the third quarter of this year reflects the strength of the business model we operate and the added value we bring to our customers,” Abdullah Bin Mohamed Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia said.

Air Arabia's strong performance in the first six months of the year continued during the third quarter, driven by “higher customer demand, robust growth strategy and the cost control measures”, he noted.

For the first nine months of the year, the budget carrier, whose shares trade on the Dubai Financial Market, posted a record net profit of Dh809m, a 53 per cent year-on-year increase. The company’s revenue for the period exceeded Dh3.61bn, a 17 per cent rise from the same period last year, as the number of passengers it served grew by 11 per cent to more than 9.2 million.

Air Arabia’s financial performance bucks a trend for many global and regional airlines, which have struggled to significantly grow their bottom lines as global passenger traffic growth slows to a level below the industry's long-term average, according to the International Air Transport Association (Iata). Globally, passenger air traffic demand grew 3.8 per cent year-on-year in September, but was flat compared with the level achieved in August, Iata said in a statement on Sunday.

Air Arabia, its chairman said, will “cautiously continue with its growth plans and expanding its geographic reach”, keeping in mind the current economic and trading conditions that are impacting the aviation industry around the world, especially in the Middle East and North African region.

The airline expects to make a decision on an order for up to 120 planes by early next year as it continues discussions with both Boeing and Airbus, its chief executive, Adel Ali, said, last month. The firm is interested in buying narrow-body models, including the Airbus A220 and Boeing 737 Max.

Air Arabia last month also agreed with Etihad Airways to jointly set up Abu Dhabi’s first low-cost airline to capitalise on growing demand for budget travel and back the capital’s tourism ambitions. The new airline, dubbed “Air Arabia Abu Dhabi”, will operate out of Abu Dhabi International Airport and will bolster Etihad’s turnaround plans, the carriers said at the time.

Updated: November 10, 2019 06:26 PM