Sharjah-based low-cost carrier (LCC) Air Arabia posted a 2017 first-half net profit of AED261 million ($71 million), up 7% compared to AED245 million for 2016 1H. Turnover for the first six months reached AED1.72 billion, down from AED1.84 billion in the year-ago half.

The LCC carried more than 4.1 million passengers, with a load factor of 79% in the 1H, which remained flat compared to the 1H 2016.

“The first half of this year has seen Air Arabia continue its robust growth by launching new routes and increasing capacity across its operating hubs while remaining focused on driving operating cost margins lower by the day,” chairman Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani said.

Air Arabia received two new Airbus A320 aircraft in the first half, taking its fleet to 48, while it added 12 new routes from its five operating hubs in the UAE (Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah), Morocco, Egypt and Jordan.

Meanwhile, the 2Q showed a net profit of AED158 million ($43 million), up 21% on the net profit of AED131 million reported for the 2Q 2016. The airline achieved the result on revenue of AED906 million, up slightly compared to AED894 million in the year-ago quarter.

Passenger numbers were up 2% at 2.1 million while load factor was 79%, up slightly from 78.3% last time.

“Air Arabia’s strong second-quarter financial performance is a testament to the carrier’s operational efficiency and robust growth strategy,” Al Thani said.

“Despite the continuous pressure on yield margins, which is driven by the market and the economic environment, Air Arabia managed to register a solid second-quarter net profit backed by the carrier’s cost-control measures, operational efficiency and combined with its momentum growth.”

“As we continue to further expand our reach and network, we remain focused on operational efficiency, cost control, as well as delivering even more value for money air travel to our customers,” he said.

Alan Dron