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Air Arabia sees passenger traffic rising, eyes new routes

Sees passenger numbers rising 13-15 pct in four yrs; Says plans to increase routes to 75 by year end; New hub in Jordan will open in June this year


January 24, 2011 3:46 by

UAE-based low cost carrier Air Arabia expects its passenger traffic to increase as much as 15 percent in the next four years and plans to add eight more routes by the end of the year, its chief executive said.

“With the growth of fleet, seats and passenger numbers, hopefully the revenues will also grow,” Adel Ali told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai on Monday.

The Arab world’s largest listed airline expects to increase the number of routes to 75 by the end of the year. Air Arabia currently services 67 routes across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The airline, set up in 2003 in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, also plans to open its new Jordan hub in June this year. It has a hub in Morocco and launched operations in its third hub in Egypt last year.

“We have four hubs at the moment including Jordan. We will look to expand our business through these hubs in the next 12-18 months,” Ali said.

The airline is under pressure from rivals including Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways and Dubai-owned FlyDubai, but also from bigger carriers such as Emirates trying to cope with a drop in international passenger travel.

In November, Air Arabia said third-quarter net profit declined 5.6 percent but the results still beat analysts’ expectations.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average expect the company to post fourth quarter net profit of 97.4 million dirhams.

Shares of the company were trading up 1 percent at 0945 GMT on the Dubai bourse Monday. (Reporting by Praveen Menon, Writing by Dinesh Nair)


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