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Mon 7 Dec 2009 03:10 PM

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Air Arabia CEO sees recovery starting in 2010

Adel Ali says aviation industry set for rebound after estimates of $11bn loss in 2009.

People will continue to travel and the aviation industry will bounce back, Adel Ali, CEO of
Air Arabia

, said confidently at the Arabian Business conference in Dubai.

"Every time we have seen a recession we have seen it coming back quickly," he said, looking back at previous downturns in history.

"2010 we will see [the aviation sector] turning around, it wont be a boom year but we will see the trend in the right direction," he forecast.

Ali pointed out that while global aviation industry us expected to lose $11bn this year and yields and passenger traffic is expected to decline by 12 percent.

However he is confident in the future as passenger numbers have increased 7 percent in September and october saw figures rose 11 percent.

During the September 11th crisis the aviation sector went through a decline, however Ali points out that six months later it was back in growth, which lasted until the second part of 2008

"It is as simple as history repeats itself," Ali said of the cyclical nature of the economy and sectors.

Last month,
Air Arabia

, the largest listed Arab airline by market value, saw third-quarter profit fall 9 percent.

"The market remains challenging," Paul Suckling,
Air Arabia

's director of finance and administration said at the time. "We perhaps are starting to see a little bit of improvement but generally, we think Q1 and maybe going into Q2 may still be depressed," he added.

Suckling said the carrier is targeting passenger load factors - which show how successful airlines are in filling seats - of about 80 percent. The measure stood at 79 percent in the nine months to end-September,
Air Arabia

said.

"We can’t change what has happened around us," Ali said, but he confidently reiterated that "air travel will never stop."

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