Classifieds powered by Gulf News

Jazeera Airways expecting to fly high this year

Forecasts a profitable and growth-filled 2011

Gulf News

Dubai: Despite all the tough market conditions wreaking mayhem for the global aviation industry, low-fare carrier Jazeera Airways expects a profitable and growth-packed 2011, according to its chief executive.

"As a part of Jazeera Airways' outlook for 2011, we think that we would continue our growth and profitability for the rest of the year," CEO Stefan Pichler told Gulf News, adding that the carrier is on the road to "sustainable profitability".

"Going by our quarterly reports, in the third and fourth quarters last year and first quarter this year, we have made profits. We have improved our market share," he said.

Asked how the revenues for the Kuwait-based carrier were hit amidst the geo-political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, Pichler said the fact that Jazeera Airways recorded a profit in first quarter 2011 means the carrier has been "more or less able to compensate" because of the flexibility of its network.

Recording three consecutive positive quarters, Jazeera Airways achieved $3.9 million (Dh14.3 million) in net profit in the first quarter of this year.

This came after the carrier recorded a net profit of $16 million in third quarter 2010, followed by $7.3 million in the fourth quarter.

Aircraft orders

Having cancelled orders for 25 Airbus A320s in March, Jazeera Airways has 15 of this type on order. Of these, 11 have been delivered and the remaining four are due to be delivered between 2012 and 2014 as a part of the airline's fleet modernisation programme.

The Kuwaiti carrier carried 86,420 passengers in April, according to its monthly report.

Asked about the possibility of more cancellations or new aircraft orders, Pichler said: "We will play it by year, which means when markets can cope with more capacity and we can deploy this capacity in a profitable way, we will add capacity. And if it doesn't make sense, we won't. So we are pretty flexible." He added: "We have, as a part of our business, a leasing company. And so we are able to breathe capacity."

Meanwhile, the carrier's decision to adjust the short-term fleet size emerged as a part of an internal business enhancement plan called the "Turn-Around Plan" that began rolling out in May 2010.

IATA membership

Jazeera Airways last week became the 238th airline to join the International Air Transport Association when it joined the global aviation body during its annual general meeting in Singapore.

Pichler said: "We are very proud of joining IATA, and hopefully, it would help us in improving our profits."

Other benefits for the Kuwaiti carrier in joining IATA include getting cheaper access to the Geneva-based aviation body's $300 billion settlement systems, which allow fast and efficient settlements of intra-company payables and receivables.