Air Arabia said on Monday its net profit for the first quarter of 2013 jumped 20 per cent to Dh59 million over the corresponding quarter in 2012 (Dh49 million), on higher passenger numbers and new route launches.
The Sharjah-based budget carrier 1.4 million passengers in first quarter of this year, up 18 per cent over to the same period last year, it said in a statement, adding that it was the highest number of passengers it handled in a quarter since inception in 2003.
The average seat load factor, or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats, increased 82 per cent in the period.
The carrier’s revenue in the first quarter, meanwhile, rose 22 per cent to Dh722 million, the carrier said.
The quarter saw Air Arabia launch non-stop services to four new destinations in addition to increasing frequency to Beirut, Salalah and Dhaka, from its primary hub in Sharjah. It also has hubs in Alexandria and Casablanca.
Air Arabia also took delivery of two aircraft from Airbus in the first quarter, and is due to receive four more A320s this year, in line with its growth plan to further expand its geographic network and grow the size of its fleet by 2016.
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia, said in a statement that the airline is on a steady growth trajectory and that the “sustained profitability” and “solid growth margins” enable the airline to enter new geographies and launch new ventures.
“Like its near rival, flydubai, the low-cost market in the Middle East has decades to go before it either saturates or matures — to that end, we will see Air Arabia expand its network even further, especially in places like Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia. These are markets with untapped growth potential and it makes sense for Air Arabia to make a play for market share here,” analyst Saj Ahmad of StrategicAero Research points out.