Air Arabia first quarter profit rises on strong demand, lower cost margins

UAE’s only publicly listed carrier has expanded its route network since last year

The Sharjah-based low-cost carrier first quarter profit rose on the back of continued expansion and strong passenger demand. Sarah Dea / The National
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Air Arabia, the Sharjah-based low-cost carrier, posted a 5 per cent rise in net profit for the first quarter of 2018, on the back of strong demand and cost reduction.

The carrier said net profit attributable to owners of the company for the first three months of the year rose to Dh101.6 million from the same period a year earlier, according to a regulatory filing with the Dubai Financial Market where the company's shares are traded.

The earnings came in above the average analyst estimate of Dh88.5m, according to Bloomberg data. The carrier's first quarter revenue climbed 8 per cent to 887.3m from the same period a year earlier but was 3.7 per cent below the average Dh911m estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

“The strong passenger demand combined with the solid cost control measures that we took in driving cost margins lower continue to positively impact the financial performance of the carrier,” Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia said in a statement.

The carrier registered a seat load factor of 80 per cent. Air Arabia carried more than 2 million passengers between January and March, in line with the same period a year earlier.


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“The strong financial performance for the first quarter is a reflection of the robust business model that we operate and is driven by our clear strategy for growth,” Sheikh Abdulla said.

The carrier expanded its network last year, adding 21 new routes from its operating hubs in the UAE, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan. It added three further routes in the first quarter of this year and announced the planned launch of flights to Grozny in April, Qabala and Izmir and Bodrum in Turkey, staring June 2018.

Last year, Air Arabia took delivery of four new aircraft, ending 2017 with a fleet of 50 Airbus A320 aircraft operating 140 routes across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe.