Middle East budget airline Air Arabia posted a surge in second-quarter profit as the number of passengers carried nearly tripled amid a rebound in air travel demand.
Net profit for the three-month period ended June 30 jumped to Dh160 million ($43.57m) from Dh10m in the same quarter last year, Air Arabia said in a statement on Wednesday.
The airline's revenue for the period more than doubled to Dh1.11 billion, from Dh496m in the second quarter of 2021.
“The strong performance we witnessed in the first quarter of this year continued in the second quarter and was supported by higher customer demand and cost control measures adopted by the management team,” Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia, said.
“Air Arabia remains focused on diversifying and expanding its business while investing in product innovation and adopting further measures to control costs.”
Demand for air travel is recovering as border restrictions ease and people take advantage of the freedom to travel after two years of Covid-19 lockdowns.
However, higher oil prices, rising inflation and a shortage of labour have challenged the global aviation industry's recovery as airlines race to ramp up operations to keep pace with demand.
Air Arabia carried more than 2.7 million passengers between March and June 2022 across its five hubs, an annual increase of 195 per cent.
The airline’s average seat load factor — a measure of how well an airline fills available seats — rose by 13 per cent during the second quarter to stand at 79 per cent.
Air Arabia's first-half net profit surged to Dh451m, from Dh44m in the first six months of 2021, as revenue for the period more than doubled to Dh2.24bn.
First-half earnings grew as the airline carried more than 5.2 million passengers between January and June, an increase of 131 per cent compared with the same period last year.
During the first half, Air Arabia added six new aircraft to its fleet and expanded its network with the launch of 16 new routes across its hubs in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Morocco and Egypt.
In June, Fly Arna, Air Arabia's joint venture with the Armenian National Interests Fund, obtained its Air Operator Certificate (AOC). It launched operations with direct flights connecting the Armenian capital Yerevan to Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.
Air Arabia group, which last year signed an agreement with Pakistani conglomerate Lakson Group to launch the new low-cost airline Fly Jinnah, expects the joint venture will receive its AOC soon.
“The global aviation industry continues to face geopolitical challenges, the impact of higher oil prices and uncertainty towards full economic recovery,” Mr Al Thani said.
“Despite all these, we have full confidence in the business model we operate, and the crucial role that the aviation industry plays in supporting regional and global economic growth.”