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Fri 14 Sep 2012 10:33 AM

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Air Arabia upbeat on low cost air travel prospects

UAE-based budget airline eyes new markets as it posts 31% rise in Q2 net profit to $17.9m

Air Arabia upbeat on low cost air travel prospects

Low cost carrier Air Arabia has reported a net profit of AED66m ($17.9m) for the second quarter of 2012, an increase of 31 percent compared to the same period in 2011.

The carrier's turnover for the second quarter stood at AED729m, an increase of 23 percent, the Sharjah-based airline said in a statement.

It added that 1.3 million passengers were lifted in the three months to end-June, a rise of 15 percent compared to Q2 last year.

Air Arabia's average seat load factor - or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats - for the three months stood at 85 percent, up three percent on the same period last year.

"Air Arabia's expansion strategy and efficient operating model continue to be reflected in the airline's financial performance, amidst continues political challenges that the region is witnessing" said Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia.

"In the second quarter of this year, our proven ability to identify and capitalise on underserved served routes continued to reap enormous benefits," he added.

For the first six months of 2012, Air Arabia reported a net profit of AED115m, an increase of 22 percent compared to AED94m in the corresponding period in 2011.

The carrier's turnover for the first half of 2012 stood at AED1.3bn, an increase of 22 percent while 2.5 million passengers were carried in H1, up 11 percent.

"Looking ahead, we are confident about the outlook of low cost travel in the region. As we continue expanding into new markets and adding new services, we look forward to providing best-in-class services for our customers throughout the year and beyond" said Al Thani.

Air Arabia added two new routes in the first half of 2012, with Taif in Saudi Arabia and Salalah in Oman bringing the airlines global network to 75 destinations.

Additionally, the airline increased the frequency of flights to Nagpur in India, Dammam and Riyadh in Saudi as well as to Kuwait.

The first half of 2012 also saw the delivery of three new aircraft from Airbus.

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