UAE’s Air Arabia Q4 profits up 7 percent
UAE’s Sharjah-based budget carrier Air Arabia reported a seven percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, as it introduced new routes despite a challenging environment with ongoing regional unrest.
February 25, 2012 12:33 by Reuters
Air Arabia earned a net profit of 78.7 million dirhams ($21.4 million) compared with 72.27 million dirhams a year earlier, the company said in a statement on Saturday.
“The year 2011 saw ongoing political unrest in the region, as global fuel prices also surged,” Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia said in the statement.
“While these challenging market conditions continue to impact the performance of the aviation sector… we have focused more keenly than ever on ensuring the highest level of operational efficiency.”
The earnings fell short of a forecast by SICO Bahrain, which expected a profit of 125 million dirhams.
Revenue for the quarter was 638 million dirhams compared with 544.8 million dirhams in the prior-year.
Net profit for 2011 was 274 million dirhams, down 13 percent.
The airline’s board proposed an annual dividend payout of 4.5 per cent of capital, equivalent to 4.5 fils per share. The company paid dividend of eight fils per share during the year-ago period.
The airline received six new A320 aircraft from Airbus in 2011 as part of an order for 44 jetliners placed in 2007. It expects to receive another six planes in 2012.
Middle East carriers are slowly recovering from the impact of regional unrest in countries such as Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Tunisia which forced them to cancel flights and delay growth plans.
Air Arabia, headquartered in the emirate of Sharjah, also has hubs in Egypt and Morocco.
The airline, which competes with regional low cost carriers such as flydubai and Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways, delayed plans to establish a fourth hub in Jordan earlier this year.
It introduced two routes to smaller cities in Saudi Arabia in 2011. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams) (Reporting by Praveen Menon and Nour Merza) *image from daraldaleel.com