Dubai: Sharjah-based budget carrier Air Arabia reported a 44 per cent decline in its second quarter with net profits reaching Dh50 million ending June 30 this year, down from Dh90 million for the corresponding period last year.

“This decline in profitability was in line with global industry performance, which continues to be impacted by changing market dynamics, characterized by increase in fuel costs and continuous pressure on yield margins,” the airline said in a statement.

In the second quarter of this year, Air Arabia posted a turnover of Dh485 million, an increase of 6 per cent compared to Dh458 million in the same period of 2009.

The airline served 1,108,310 passengers in the second quarter of 2010, an increase of 11 per cent compared to 1,002,394 passengers in the same period last year. In the three months ending June 30, 2010, Air Arabia’s average seat load factor – or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats – stood at an impressive 82 per cent, an increase of 4% compared to same period of 2009.

Shaikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia, said, “Air Arabia continues to post sustained quarterly profits with a high seat load factor and rising passenger traffic. These results demonstrate the strength of Air Arabia’s business model and long-term expansion strategy.

“The airline has embarked upon a phase of organic growth, now operating from three hubs across the region”, Shaikh Abdullah said. “We are focused on further expanding our operations while strengthening our value-for-money offerings and innovative products.”

In the second quarter of 2010, the airline launched operations from its third hub in Alexandria, Egypt. Air Arabia currently offers service to 65 routes across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia from three hubs in UAE, Morocco and Egypt. The low-cost carrier also announced the formation of Jordan’s first low-cost carrier in a joint venture with Tantash Group.