(MENAFN - Arab Times) Air Arabia (PJSC), the Middle East and North Africa's first and largest low-cost carrier, announced today its financial results for the three months ending March 31, 2012, demonstrating the carrier's resilience and surpassing analysts' expectations.
Air Arabia's net profit for the three months ending March 31, 2012, stood at AED 49.2 million, an increases of 11 percent to AED 44.2 million in the corresponding period in 2011. The positive results achieved in the first quarter of 2012 reflect the airline's strong operating performance, leading market share and solid profitability path.
In the first quarter of this year, Air Arabia posted a turnover of AED 621 million, an increase of 21 percent to AED 513 million in the same period of 2011.
The airline 1,230,807 passengers in the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 7 percent compared to 1,153,807 passengers in the same period last year. In the three months ending March 31, 2012, Air Arabia's average seat load factor - or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats - stood at an impressive 83 percent.
"Shortly after the distribution of a six percent cash dividend was approved by the Assembly at Air Arabia's Annu8al General Meeting, we are pleased to announce our positive results for the first quarter of this year, demonstrating Air Arabia's strong business model and excellent market appeal," said Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia.
"Though political instability and sustained high fuel costs continue to challenge regional carriers, the appeal of air transport, and especially the low-cost model pioneered by Air Arabia in the region, remains strong. As these results make clear, Air Arabia remains on a path of steady upward growth."
He continued: "Air Arabia will continue to enter into new markets and to launch new ventures in 2012, supporting the airline's robust commercial and operational performance, while providing our customers with an even wider choice of affordable air travel options."
The first quarter of this year saw Air Arabia flights to Kuwait and Dammam increase to three times daily. As well, Air Arabia's total operating fleet reached 30 aircraft, while the carrier took delivery of the ninth of 44 A320 aircraft it has ordered from Airbus.
The airline will receive five more A320 aircraft this year, which is in line with Air Arabia's growth plan to further expand its destination network and significantly grow the size of its fleet by 2018.