Air Arabia records annual net profit of AED 510 million, up 35.6 per cent

Sharjah, 15 Feb, 2009 (WAM) – Air Arabia (PJSC), the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest lowfare airline, has announced its financial results for the year 2008.

According to the results the company achieved a net profit of AED 510 million for the financial year ending December 31, 2008, compared to a net profit of AED 376 million in 2007, an increase of 35.6 per cent.

The carrier posted a turnover of AED 2.066 billion in 2008, up 61 per cent compared to AED 1.283 billion in 2007. Passenger average load factor – passengers carried as a proportion of available seats – stood at 85 per cent.

Overall, a total of 3.6 million discerning passengers chose to fly with Air Arabia in 2008. This is an increase of 33 per cent compared to 2.7 million passengers in 2007.

For the fourth quarter of 2008, Air Arabia posted a net profit of AED 136 million, up 45.4 per cent compared to AED 93.49 million during the fourth quarter of 2007. For the fourth quarter of 2008, the carrier posted a turnover of AED 571 million, up 53.3 per cent compared to AED 372.37 million in same period of 2007. During the fourth quarter of 2008, the airline served 959,067 passengers, an increase of 29 per cent compared to 745,000 passengers during the same period in 2007.

Commenting on the results, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia, said: “2008 was a landmark year for Air Arabia, and this is reflected in our robust financial results. Air Arabia has managed to sustain growth and announce record profits in 2008. Therefore, the Board of Directors has proposed distributing a 10 per cent cash dividend to the company’s shareholders, which allows them to share in Air Arabia’s success while maintaining sufficient capital to ensure the implementation of the carrier’s long-term growth strategy.” He added: “2009 will see serious challenges to the worldwide aviation industry, driven by the impact of the global financial crisis and lower levels of consumer confidence. This uncertainty about the future will place additional pressure on the bottom lines and earnings expectations of airlines across the globe

“At Air Arabia, we remain focused on our core objectives and the implementation of our successful business model, building upon our expansion strategy and offering compelling value propositions to our customers. Now more than ever, low-cost carriers are an attractive option for travellers seeking value for money.” In 2008, Air Arabia introduced seven new destinations, and now serves 44 destinations across the Middle East, North Africa, Indian Subcontinent, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The carrier also announced its new hub in Morocco that is set to commence operations by the end of first quarter of 2009. Air Arabia also announced the launch of a 300-room budget hotel, and introduced new services such as its early check-in procedure and seat selection.

The company’s exceptional performance in 2008 was recognised through several industry awards. Air Arabia was named “Low-Cost Carrier of the Year” for the second consecutive year at the Aviation Business Awards 2008. In addition, Air Arabia won the coveted AVEX award for Best Regional Airline at the prestigious AVEX award ceremony in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

The carrier won the World Travel Award for Best Low-Cost Carrier in MENA, hailed as the Oscars of the travel industry. Air Arabia was named Best Low-Cost Airline in the Middle East and Africa at the prestigious Budgie Awards, part of the World Low-Cost Airlines Congress, held in London, UK. In May 2008, Air Arabia received the gold award in the best airline category at the MENA Travel Awards 2008.