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Air Arabia Announces Annual Net Profit Of AED 452 Million

Annual turnover stands at AED 2 billion; passenger traffic exceeds 4.1 million; load factor reaches 80 per cent. Region’s leading low-cost carrier continues organic expansion; looks to launch third hub in first half of 2010

Air Arabia (PJSC), the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier, announced today its financial results for the 12 months ending December 31, 2009, demonstrating continued profitability and very high levels of efficiency during an enormously challenging period for airlines worldwide.

Air Arabia’s net profit for the 12 months ending December 31, 2009, stood at AED 452 million, sustaining 2008 strong performance of AED 454 million (excluding exceptional items). For the full-year 2009, the company registered a turnover of AED 2 billion, decline of 4.5 per cent from AED 2.066 billion recorded in 2008.

The airline served 4.1 million passengers in 2009, an increase of 14.2 per cent compared to 3.6 million passengers in 2008. In the 12 months ending December 31, 2009, Air Arabia’s average seat load factor – or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats – stood at an extremely impressive 80 per cent.

Commenting on the company’s results, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia, said: “The previous 12 months represented one of the most challenging periods in the history of the global aviation sector, as pressure on yields increased significantly as a consequence of the worldwide financial crisis. The associated overcapacity in the sector led to collective losses of roughly US$11 billion for all global airlines, demonstrating the depth of the challenges facing our industry.”

“During that time of great instability, Air Arabia nevertheless continued to chart a path to profitability,” he added, “and we are all very proud of the sustainable financial results announced today. Based on the strength of our unique business model, efficiency of our operations and compelling value-for-money customer proposition, Air Arabia has been able to navigate the current challenges and invest in its long-term growth.”

“We are confident that Middle East and North Africa region is capable of leading the global recovery, and our outlook for this year therefore remains cautiously positive,” Sheikh Abdullah said. “In 2010, we will continue to focus on doing what we do best – providing our customers with the most competitive fares, greatest number of destinations and highest-quality services – and are confident that this will be reflected in our ongoing growth and overall expansion.”

Ranked first on the Top Performing Companies chart as the best low-cost carrier globally in a study conducted in 2009 by Aviation Week magazine, Air Arabia currently serves 59 destinations across the world from its hubs in Sharjah and Casablanca. The region’s first and largest low-cost carrier has also been named "Low-Cost Carrier of the Year" by a number of leading aviation bodies.

Last year, 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 the first half of 2010.

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