United Arab Emirates (UAE) low-cost carrier (LCC) Air Arabia reported a 2013 net profit of AED435 million ($118.4 million), up 2% compared to 2012. This represents a sharp slowdown in profitability compared to the previous year’s figures.
Revenue was up 14% to AED3.2 billion year-over-year.
The number of passengers rose 15%, from 5.3 million in 2012 to 6.1 million last year. Load factor was 80%, down from 82% in 2012.
“We are extremely confident about the long-term fundamentals of the aviation sector in the region and believe we have the right business model, operating base and infrastructure in place to cement our position as the region’s leading low-cost carrier operator,” Arabia chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani said. “We will continue to explore opportunities and enter into new ventures that will best serve the airline’s ambitious growth plans and at the same time provide highest returns to our shareholders.”
Sharjah-based Air Arabia was the first LCC in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It has since set up subsidiaries in both Egypt and Morocco.
Last year it added eight destinations to its network: Yerevan (Armenia); Lar and Mashhad (Iran); Baghdad (Iraq); Sialkot (Pakistan); and Abha, Ha’il and Hofuf (Saudi Arabia). It took delivery of seven new Airbus A320s, bringing its fleet to 35.
“Air Arabia has enjoyed consistent and sustained growth since launching operations back in October 2003, and our performance in the year of our10th anniversary was no exception,” Al Thani said.
“The network expansion strategy that has guided the airline for a decade continued to reap rewards in 2013, helping us to once again deliver a strong set of results.”
It expanded further last month, becoming the designated national carrier for another of the UAE’s seven constituent emirates, Ras Al Khaimah.