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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Air Arabia's Q3 net profit soars 27%, beats forecast

Lower costs, higher passenger numbers boost income for no-frills airline 

The airline’s third quarter turnover rose 4 per cent to Dh1.16 billion. Maja Hitji / EPA
The airline’s third quarter turnover rose 4 per cent to Dh1.16 billion. Maja Hitji / EPA

Air Arabia, the largest low-cost carrier in Middle East and North Africa region, posted a 27 per cent increase in the third quarter net profit, beating analysts’ forecasts, as it carried more passengers and cut costs.

Net profit in the three months ending September 30 reached Dh376 million, compared with Dh297m in a year-earlier period, the company said in an emailed statement.

Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes had forecast a third quarter net profit of Dh202m.

The airline’s quarterly turnover also rose 4 per cent to Dh1.16 billion from Dh1.12bn reported for the corresponding period in 2016.

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“The solid third quarter results reflect the continuous appeal for our value driven product combined with the cost control measures and robust growth strategy adopted by the airline management team,” Air Arabia chairman Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani said. “We are glad to see Air Arabia delivering strong financial and operational performance throughout 2017 despite the continuous pressure on yield margins that airlines in the region are witnessing.”

Passenger numbers for the Sharjah-based airline, which competes with flydubai in the low-cost travel segment in the UAE, increased 3 per cent to 2.33 million in the third quarter from a year-earlier.

Average seat load factor – or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats – stood at 81 per cent in the third quarter.

Air Arabia, which started operations in October 2003, flies to around 133 destinations and has a fleet of 48 Airbus A320s. It received three new Airbus A320 planes in the first nine months of this year.

The airline may order new aircraft for its fleet in the near future as newer, more fuel-efficient plane models are introduced by manufacturers, its chief executive Adel Ali told The National in August.

Air Arabia added 14 new routes to its global network during the first nine months of this year from its operating hubs in the UAE, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan.

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