Air Arabia swings to third-quarter net loss on pandemic impact

Partial resumption of operations in the Q3 and cost cutting measures helped in limiting the airline’s loss

Air Arabia on Tuesday reported a net loss of Dh44 million as the pandemic sappd travel demand. Courtesy Air Arabia
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Air Arabia, the largest low-cost carrier in the Middle East and North Africa, swung to a third quarter loss as it dealt with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Net loss for the three months to the end of September reached Dh44 million, compared with a profit of Dh471 million reported for the same period of 2019, the company said in an investors' presentation on Tuesday.

The company said the loss was “a direct result” of Covid-19, which has sapped travel demand and rattled the global aviation industry. It recorded quarterly revenue of Dh294m, down from Dh1.44bn for the same period last year.

Air Arabia served a total of 665,456 passengers from its five hubs during the third quarter, compared with 3.4 million passengers it carried in the same period a year ago.

The airline's move to resume flights to a limited number of destinations across its network combined with its efforts to control costs helped in limiting the quarterly net loss.

"We are pleased that Air Arabia [managed] these results … amidst the continuing impact of Covid -19 on the travel industry worldwide," Abdullah Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia, said in a separate statement.

“The early measures taken by the management … to control overall cost while seizing revenue opportunities under current circumstances [has] helped limit net loss,” he said.

Air Arabia's operations during the second quarter comprised largely of repatriation, charter and cargo flights. The third quarter also witnessed the launch of Air Arabia Abu Dhabi - a joint venture between Air Arabia and Etihad Airways - and its first flight to Alexandria in July.

The launch of the new low-cost carrier from Abu Dhabi “during this unprecedented time” reflects the “confidence and commitment we have towards the aviation industry in the UAE and the region”, Mr Al Thani said.