Air Arabia posts 17% rise in first-quarter profit as passenger numbers rise

UAE-listed airline carried 3.9 million people during the three-month period, up 59% year-on-year

Air Arabia added nine new routes to its global network in the first three months of this year. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Budget airline Air Arabia, the UAE's only publicly listed airline, posted a 17 per cent increase in first-quarter net profit as it carried a higher number of passengers amid continued strong demand for air travel.

Profit attributable to owners of the company rose to Dh341.5 million ($93 million) in the first three months of the year, up from Dh290.8 million in the same period last year, Air Arabia said on Monday in a filing to the Dubai Financial Market where its shares are traded.

Revenue for the period rose 27 per cent year-on-year to Dh1.42 billion, as the number of passengers carried increased by 59 per cent. The airline carried 3.9 million passengers from its seven airports in the January to March period, compared with 2.4 million passengers in the first quarter of last year.

"Despite the ongoing global economic and geopolitical uncertainty, our focus on driving profitability and maintaining an efficient operation has enabled us to deliver solid financial and operational results," said Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammad Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia.

The global aviation industry has registered a robust comeback since most countries lifted their Covid-19 restrictions and people resumed travelling for business and leisure.

However, economic uncertainty, high oil prices, elevated inflation and supply chain delays have challenged the industry's recovery as airlines race to step up operations to keep pace with demand.

Air Arabia operates seven hubs: in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi, Morocco, Egypt, Armenia and Pakistan.

The airline's average seat load factor — a measure of how well an airline fills available seats — was 85 per cent in the first quarter, up 8 per cent from the same period last year, Air Arabia said.

"We are confident in our ability to navigate through market challenges and capitalise on new opportunities," Mr Al Thani said.

Air Arabia added nine new routes to its global network from its seven hubs during the first three months of the year, using a fleet of 68 new Airbus A320 and A321 planes.

The airline remains bullish on growth prospects.

"We remain steadfast in our growth plans; we will continue to build on our strengths and explore new opportunities that will enable us to further expand the reach of our value-driven product and thus enable more customers and communities to benefit from our affordable and reliable air travel offering,” Mr Al Thani said.

Updated: May 08, 2023, 1:15 PM