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Thu 27 Jun 2013 12:14 PM

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UAE's Air Arabia eyes fleet expansion

CEO says low cost carrier considering purchase of additional narrow-body aircraft

UAE's Air Arabia eyes fleet expansion
Air Arabia

UAE carrier Air Arabia is considering the purchase of new narrow-body aircraft, its CEO said, as it seeks a larger share of the Middle East low-cost travel market.

Adel Ali told Bloomberg that the airline, that operates out of Sharjah International Airport, was looking at the Boeing 737 Max, the Airbus A320neo and the Bombardier C-Series.

Ali told the news service that it was unlikely to make a decision on any purchase before 2014 and was not planning on making an announcement in time for November’s Dubai Air Show.

“Each [aircraft] has a unique selling proposition,” Ali said. “It’s still early stages, there’s a lot of work to be done. It will eventually bounce to commercial decisions, which one is financially better for us.”

Last month, Air Arabia has announced that it signed a $350m finance deal from a syndicate of two GCC banks to support the acquisition of ten new Airbus A320 aircraft.

The budget airline signed the deal with senior representatives of Qatar National Bank and UAE-based Commercial Bank International, it said in a statement.

The financing facility is to support the purchase of ten new aircraft, which is part of a larger order for 44 A320s placed with Airbus in 2007.

Air Arabia, UAE's only publicly-listed carrier, in May reported a 20 percent rise in first quarter net profit.

The carrier made a net profit of AED59m ($16.06m), compared with AED49m in the same period in 2012.

Revenue for the quarter rose 22 percent to AED722m, adding that passenger traffic during the period was up 18 percent.

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