Air Arabia passenger numbers grow 13% in 2012

Low cost carrier says it lifted more than 5.3m passengers in year - a new company record

Air Arabia, the low-cost carrier, has reported that it carried a record 5,301,484 passengers in 2012, a 13 percent growth compared to the previous year.

The significant growth in passenger numbers was on the back of the airline's network expansion strategy, it said in a statement.

In 2012, the airline has launched flights from its primary hub in Sharjah to nine new destinations - Kazan, Taif, Salalah, Ufa, Odessa, Erbil, Astana, Basra and Rostov.

The airline also increased frequencies to many exiting routes such as Moscow, Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Doha, Kuwait and Najaf as well as Karachi, Peshawar and Delhi.

In addition, the airline has continued its expansion from its hubs in Morocco and Egypt reaching a global network of 82 cities.

"Air Arabia continues to witness significant year-on-year growth in passenger numbers, and this demonstrates the growing popularity of the airline's value for money services," said Adel Ali, Group CEO, Air Arabia.

"As a pioneer in the low-cost space, we will continue to set the standard for the low-cost travel segment, offering great fares to an ever growing range of destinations."

Air Arabia took delivery of six new aircraft in 2012 as part of an order for 44 aircraft placed in 2007.

The delivery of the 44 new aircraft will be completed by 2016, and will more than double the size of Air Arabia's fleet.

Last month, the airline took delivery of its first Sharklet equipped aircraft from Airbus, and became the first airline in the Middle East to operate a Sharklet equipped A320 aircraft. The airline is due to receive five more aircraft this year.

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