By Staff writer
Budget carrier says it flew more than 2.1m passengers between January and March, up 17% on Q1 2015
Budget carrier Air Arabia, the UAE’s only publicly-listed airline, reported a 42.2 percent rise in first-quarter net profit on Monday, beating analysts' forecasts.
The Sharjah-based firm made a net profit of 111.1 million dirhams ($30.3 million) in the three months to March 31, the company said in a statement. This compared with a profit of 78.1 million dirhams in the corresponding period of 2015.
The airline said it flew more than 2.1 million passengers between January and March, up 17 percent on the corresponding period of last year.
The airline’s average seat load factor – or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats – during the first three months of 2016 stood at 81 percent.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia, said: “Air Arabia has made an excellent start to 2016, maintaining the momentum we established last year and attracting new customers to our brand.
"Our operational efficiency allied to the success of our route expansion strategy and the popularity of our value-add service proposition, leaves Air Arabia well placed to navigate the current macroeconomic challenges and benefit from the many opportunities in the region’s aviation sector.”
Air Arabia added two new routes from its main hub in Sharjah in the first three months of 2016, both of which strengthened its presence at the intersection of Europe and Asia.
In March, it began direct flights between Sharjah and Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, bringing this popular and historic city within easy reach of UAE visitors.
This was followed by plans to operate seasonal direct flights from Sharjah to Batumi, Georgia, between July and September to cater to summer tourist demand.
In addition, Air Arabia added three new routes in the first quarter of this year from its operating hubs in Morocco and Jordan.
Three analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast the airline would make a first-quarter profit of 88.8 million dirhams.
The airline's first-quarter revenue was 945.8 million dirhams, versus 886.0 million dirhams a year earlier.