Air Arabia sets new monthly passenger record

Low-cost carrier says it carried nearly half a million passengers during January

Low-cost carrier Air Arabia said on Saturday that its passenger numbers in January represented the highest monthly total since it began operations.

The Sharjah-based airline said it lifted a total of 492,847 passengers in the month, an increase of nearly 15 percent compared to a year earlier.

The airline's seat load factor - passengers as a percentage of total seats available - stood at 82.5 percent, it added.

Air Arabia said it witnessed a steady increase in passenger numbers in 2012. Last year, the low-cost pioneer carried 5.3 million passengers, an increase of over 13 percent compared to 2011.

"It is encouraging to begin the year with record passenger numbers," said Adel Ali, Group CEO, Air Arabia.

"The record number demonstrates the strength of Air Arabia - offering affordable fares to an ever growing range of destinations. As we embark on a new growth journey, we remain committed to millions of passengers who choose to fly with Air Arabia, whether for business or leisure purposes."

As customer demand soars, fleet expansion is a top priority for the airline, he added.

Last month, the carrier took delivery of its first fuel saving Sharklet equipped aircraft from Airbus, and has become 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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