Air Arabia posts first-quarter net profit despite Covid-19 pandemic
Airline remains focused on adopting further measures to control costs and support business continuity
Middle East budget airline Air Arabia recorded a 52 per cent drop in first-quarter profit as revenue fell amid tight restrictions on air travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Net profit stood at Dh34 million in the first three months of 2021, down from Dh71m in the same period last year, Air Arabia said in on Sunday. First-quarter revenue declined by 37 per cent from the same period a year ago to Dh572m.
"We are proud that Air Arabia managed to post another profitable quarter despite the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the aviation industry worldwide," said chairman Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani.
"Although the tightened restrictions on air travel continued in first quarter of this year, the gradual resumption to selected destinations combined with cost-control measures ... helped to deliver profitability during the first quarter of this year."
The UAE's only listed airline carried more than 1.3 million passengers in the first three months of this year across its five hubs, down from 2.4 million passengers in the same quarter a year ago.
Average seat load factor – or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats – during the first quarter stood at 77 per cent, compared to 83 per cent in the same period in 2019.
Air Arabia – which operates hubs in the UAE, Morocco and Egypt – resumed flying to a number of destinations during the first quarter, which helped to prop up its financial and operational performance, it said.
The resumption of routes such as Sharjah-Doha and Alexandria-Doha after the UAE reopened air, land and sea borders with Qatar on January 9 following the signing of the Al Ula Declaration on January 5 at the GCC summit in Saudi Arabia also helped bolster Air Arabia's performance.
Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, a joint venture between Etihad Airways and Air Arabia, will expand its operations once Covid-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions are lifted, Etihad group chief executive Tony Douglas said last month.
Air Arabia said it will continue to keep an eye on costs and restart flights as markets reopen.
“While we remain hopeful that air travel restrictions will ease with the increasing rate of vaccination drives across key markets, Air Arabia remains focused on adopting further measures to control costs and support business continuity during this period while we continue to resume operations where possible," said Mr Al Thani.
Updated: May 9, 2021 08:35 PM