August 4, 2008

UAE Low-Cost Airline Records 39 Pct Growth in Net Profit

UAE low-cost airline records 39 pct growth in net profit

ABU DHABI, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Air Arabia, a low-cost airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), announced on Sunday a net profit of 160 million dirhams (43.6 million U.S. dollars) for the first half of 2008, growing by 39 percent over the same period of 2007, the official Emirates News Agency reported.

In the first six months of 2008, the Sharjah-based airline achieved a turnover of 871 million dirhams (237 million U.S. dollars), representing an increase of 70 percent compared with 513 million dirhams (140 million U.S. dollars) in the corresponding period of last year.

The number of passengers served by Air Arabia in the first half of 2008 reached 1.6 million, up 33 percent compared with 1.2 million passengers in the same period of 2007.

The airline's average seat factor, which means passengers carried as a proportion of available seats, stood at 86 percent for the first half of 2008, up 3.6 percent compared with the same period of 2007.

"During a period of unprecedented challenges for the global aviation industry as a result of the continuously soaring oil price, we are extremely proud of these results," the airline's chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Thani said.

Air Arabia recently announced that it has carried more than 10 million passengers since its launch in October 2003, passing the mark at the end of June 2008.

The airline also introduced four new destinations in the first six months of this year, including Kozhikode and New Delhi in India, Shiraz in Iran and Dhaka in Bangladesh.

Launched in October 2003 and modeled after leading American and European low-cost carriers, Air Arabia is the first and largest low- cost carrier in the Middle East and North Africa. It currently provides services to 41 destinations in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

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