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Abu Dhabi: Air Arabia on Saturday reported that its net profit for the financial year ended December 2009 fell marginally to Dh452 million despite challenging times for the global civil aviation industry.

The Dubai Financial Market-listed low cost airline, the largest in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, said its net profit in the financial year ended December 2008 was Dh454 million.

"For the full-year 2009, the company registered a turnover of Dh2 billion, a decline of 4.5 per cent from Dh2.06 billion recorded in 2008," said Air Arabia.

Below expectations

"Air Arabia's net profit for 2009 is below our expectations of Dh480 million, but considering the environment they are operating in increasing competition and rising fuel costs they have done well," Nabil Farhat, Partner with Al Fajer Securities told Gulf News.

"With the global economy set to emerge from recession in 2010, more people are going to travel and this should help improve the company's revenue and profitability," Farhat added.

Shares of Air Arabia rose 2.13 per cent on Thursday, closing at Dh0.96.

In a statement, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia, said: "The previous 12 months represented one of the most challenging periods in the history of the global aviation sector, as pressure on yields increased significantly as a consequence of the worldwide financial crisis.

Overcapacity

"The associated overcapacity in the sector led to collective losses of roughly $11 billion for all global airlines, demonstrating the depth of the challenges facing our industry."

The airline served 4.1 million passengers in 2009, an increase of 14.2 per cent compared to 3.6 million passengers in 2008.

In the 12 months ending December 31, 2009, Air Arabia's average seat load factor or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats stood at 80 per cent, the company said.

Air Arabia flies to 59 destinations from its hubs in Sharjah and Casablanca. It started operations in October 2003 and operates a fleet of 21 Airbus A320s.

  • Dh454m Air Arabia's full-yearnet profit in 2008
  • Dh2b Air Arabia's turnover last year
  • 2.13% increase in Air Arabia's stock on Thursday