Air Arabia reports nine-month net profit of AED 337 million, up six per cent
Passenger traffic exceeds 2.96 million during period, up 14 per cent
• Airline continues its long-term growth strategy; anticipates launch of third hub in early 2010
Sharjah, UAE: November 14, 2009: Air Arabia (PJSC), the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier, announced today its positive financial results for the nine months ending September 30, 2009, demonstrating the long-term sustainability of its business model and appeal of its low-cost services at a time when the global aviation sector is witnessing unprecedented financial challenges.
Air Arabia’s net profit for the first nine months of this year stood at AED 337 million, an increase of six per cent compared to AED 318 million for the same period in 2008, excluding exceptional items. During the first nine months of 2009, the company registered a turnover of AED 1.469 billion, two per cent lower than AED 1.495 billion recorded during the same period last year.
The airline served more than 2.96 million passengers during the first nine months of 2009, an increase of 14 per cent compared to 2.6 million passengers during the same period last year. Air Arabia’s average seat load factor – or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats – for the first nine months of 2009 stood at a strong 79 per cent.
“At a time when the worldwide airline industry is projected to witness collective annual losses approaching US$11 billion, we are pleased to announce results for the first nine months of this year that continue to exceed expectations, demonstrating our positive performance amidst extremely challenging conditions,” said Adel Ali, Board Member and Group Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia.
“While the challenges that lie ahead, especially in the short term, remain significant, we are convinced that Air Arabia will continue to serve as the preferred value-for-money choice for passengers seeking to travel in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Asia,” Ali said. “We continue to demonstrate strong financial performance, meeting our own internal forecasts and consistently outperforming the market.”
Air Arabia’s net profit for the three months ending September 30, 2009, stood at AED 144 million, a decline of nine per cent compared to AED 158 million for the same period in 2008, excluding exceptional items. Passenger traffic in the third quarter of 2009 was impacted by the seasonality of the Holy month, concerns related to the H1N1 virus and the continuing consequences of the global continuous financial downturn.
Born in Sharjah and now serving some 59 destinations across the world, from hubs in Sharjah and Casablanca, the sustained success of Air Arabia, despite such extremely challenging conditions, is testament to the airline’s overarching commitment to provide its customers with the best fares, greatest number of destinations and highest-quality service.
In September, Air Arabia announced the signing of a joint venture agreement with the Travco Group to launch a new low-cost carrier based in Egypt, serving the Europe, Middle East and Africa markets and representing the carrier’s third hub after the UAE and Morocco. Operations at the third hub in Egypt are anticipated to begin in early 2010.
Also during the third quarter, Air Arabia was ranked first on the Top Performing Companies chart as the best low-cost carrier globally in a study conducted by Aviation Week magazine, the largest information and services provider to the global aviation industry. During the same period, Air Arabia successfully completed the IATA Operational Safety Audit, an internationally recognised evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline.
Finally, in a sign of the ongoing diversification of the company’s revenue streams, Air Arabia announced in the third quarter that construction of its 300-room three-star Centro Hotel at Sharjah Airport will be complete by April 2010.