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Sun 15 Feb 2009 04:28 PM

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Air Arabia Q4 profit up 45%; sees 2009 challenging

Sharjah-based low-cost carrier warns of serious threats staring at aviation sector in 2009.

Low-cost carrier Air Arabia posted a 45 percent increase in fourth quarter profit to 136 million dirhams ($37.03 million), below expectations, and warned of serious challenges facing the sector in 2009.Annual profit rose 35.6 percent to 510 million dirhams compared to a 376 million in 2007, while turnover rose 61 percent to 2.066 billion, the company said in a statement. Passenger average load factor stood at 85 per cent for the year.

"2009 will see serious challenges to the worldwide aviation industry, driven by the impact of the global financial crisis and lower levels of consumer confidence," said Chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani.

"This uncertainty about the future will place additional pressure on the bottom lines and earnings expectations of airlines across the globe."

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected on average that Air Arabia post a Q4 profit of 171 million dirhams for the period.

The company said it planned to distribute a 10 percent cash dividend to shareholders for the year. (Reuters)