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Air Arabia fourth quarter net profit rises seven per cent to AED 78.7 million


29 February 2012

Air Arabia (PJSC), the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier, reported today a net profit of AED 78.7 million for the three months ending December 31, 2011, an increase of seven per cent compared to AED 73.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. 

The company’s turnover for the fourth quarter 2011 reached AED 638 million, an increase of 17 per cent compared to AED 544.8 million in 2010. Air Arabia carried 1,180,402 passengers in the final three months of last year, up two per cent compared to the same period in 2010.

These results were announced following a meeting today of the Board of Directors of Air Arabia, who have proposed a dividend distribution of 4.5 per cent of capital which is equivalent to 4.5 fils per share. This proposal is subject to ratification by the shareholders of Air Arabia at the company’s upcoming Annual General Meeting.

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia, described these solid financial results as a result of the carrier’s excellent cost controls and extremely appealing product offering. 

“The year 2011 saw ongoing political unrest in the region, as global fuel prices also surged. While these challenging market conditions continue to impact the performance of the aviation sector here in the Middle East and worldwide, we have focused more keenly than ever on ensuring the highest level of operational efficiency,” he said. 

“Air Arabia’s ability to continue to report sustained profitability and achieve solid growth margins across our network reflects the strength of our business model and robust management team.” 

Air Arabia, which now operates flights to some 70 destinations from three regional hubs, also delivered strong financial and operational performance for the full year ending December 31, 2011. 

The airline’s net profit for the full year was in line with analyst forecasts, reaching a solid AED 274 million. Air Arabia’s turnover for 2011 stood at AED 2.4 billion, an increase of 16 per cent compared to 2010.  Air Arabia served 4.7 million passengers in the 12 months ending December 31, 2011, representing an increase of six per cent compared to 4.4 million passengers in 2010. The carrier’s seat load factor – or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats – stood at impressive 82 per cent for the full year 2011.

Sheikh Al Thani concluded: “Beyond today’s immediate challenges, we see great opportunities for the regional aviation sector, especially in the increasingly popular low-cost segment, which was pioneered in the Middle East by Air Arabia. Moving ahead, we look forward to providing our customers with even more value-for-money options in 2012, as well as an even wider range of services and destinations.” 

In 2011, Air Arabia introduced six new routes to its award-winning network, including Moscow and Yekaterinburg, Russia; Kharkiv and Donetsk, Ukraine; and Gassim and Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. In addition, the airline also launched non-stop service from its Alexandria, Egypt, hub to Milan, Italy, and Riyadh and Dammam in Saudi Arabia.

In the final quarter of last year, the carrier also inaugurated its state-of-the-art aircraft hangar facility and multimillion-dollar flight simulator at Sharjah International Airport, as well as its Centro Sharjah Hotel, conveniently located adjacent to the airport.

Air Arabia took delivery of six new A320 aircraft from Airbus in 2011 as part of an order for 44 aircraft placed in 2007. Air Arabia is expected to take delivery of another six aircraft in 2012.

Over the past 12 months, Air Arabia continued to be recognised for the excellence of its operations, winning the Airbus Operational Excellence award for the fifth consecutive year, as well as the “Innovation in Operations” award at the Express TravelWorld Awards, which were held in New Delhi, India. Finally, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia, Adel Ali, was last year named “Business Leader of the Year” at the inaugural Middle East Accountancy and Finance Excellence Awards.