Air Arabia
Air Arabia is working to expand its fleet, with plans to order at least 100 aircraft this year. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Budget carrier Air Arabia reported on Wednesday a 75 per cent jump in its net profit for the second quarter of 2019 as revenues rose on the back of growth in passenger traffic.

The airline said it recorded Dh210 million in profits for the quarter, bringing profits in the first half of 2019 to Dh338 million — up 47 per cent year-on-year. This was as passenger numbers for Air Arabia went up by 16 per cent to three million.

Turnover for the second quarter rose by 22 per cent to Dh1.14 billion, bringing turnover for the first six months of the year to Dh2.17 billion — up 20 per cent.

Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia, said the financial performance was driven by cost control measures, improved yield margins, and strong passenger demand.

“The global and regional aviation industry continued to be impacted by pressing economic challenges and escalating geopolitical tensions during the first half of this year,” he said. “Despite that, Air Arabia managed to register record performance supported by strong passenger demand, momentum growth, and operational efficiency.”

During the first half of the year, Air Arabia added 10 new routes to its network from its international hubs in Morocco and Egypt.

Operationally, it also received its first Airbus A321 neo LR aircraft, bringing its fleet size to 54 airplanes. The new jet is the first of five of that model to be delivered in 2019, and Air Arabia said the A321’s will help it expand to medium-haul markets and add seat capacity to its existing routes.

“Growth prospects for the Middle East and North Africa region remain strong for the aviation industry and especially for the low-cost travel segment,” Al Thani said in a statement.

He added that Air Arabia plans to focus on expanding its network, cost control measures, and investing in its products during the second half of this year.

The carrier is working to expand its fleet, with plans to order at least 100 aircraft this year, its chief executive officer earlier said. It is already in talks with both Boeing and Airbus for an order, and is considering different models.

CEO Adel Ali had said the order will be made in the second quarter of 2019, but talks are still ongoing between the different parties, Gulf News understands. It is still also unconfirmed whether the order will all be from one manufacturer or whether Air Arabia will order models from both Boeing and Airbus.