Air Arabia profit surges by 80% in 2019

Air Arabia posted an 80 per cent surge in 2019 net profit, aided by higher passenger numbers from its four hubs in the UAE, Morocco and Egypt.

The budget carrier posted a net profit of Dh1 billion for the year ending December 31, 2019 after recording a year-ago loss, when it was hurt by a significant impairment charge linked to its exposure to collapsed private equity firm Abraaj.

The firm said full year turnover rose by 15 per cent to Dh4.75 billion and 16 new routes were added to the airline group network. The airline proposes a dividend distribution equivalent to 9 fils per share.
The full year financial results were backed by growth in passenger demand with Air Arabia serving more than 12 million passengers from its four hubs in the UAE, Morocco and Egypt, up 10 per cent compared to the 11 million passengers carried last year, Air Arabia said.

The average seat load factor – or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats – for the full year increased 2 percent at 83 percent, the airline said.

“The year 2019 was a challenging year for the aviation industry worldwide,” said Chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani. “The global economy endured a slowdown in key international markets while escalating geo-political pressures continued to impact the trading environment.

“Our focus on expanding into new markets combined with improved operational efficiencies has led to another year of sustained growth and profitability for the airline.”

In the fourth quarter, Air Arabia reported a net profit of Dh199 million while the turnover for the last quarter 2019 reached Dh1.14 billion. Air Arabia flew over 2.9 million passengers from its four hubs in the UAE, Morocco and Egypt in the last quarter 2019, an increase of 8 per cent compared to the same quarter last year.

Air Arabia said the ‘remarkable’ profit that Air Arabia achieved in 2019 was supported by a lower fuel price in the last quarter as well as less volatile currency movement compared to last year, while aided by higher customer demand, better yield margins, higher fleet utilization and cost control measures adopted by the management team.

“Going forward, we remain focused on driving operational efficiency across board, exploring opportunities and ventures that will best serve the airline’s ambitious growth plans while delivering optimum value to our customers and shareholders,” Al Thani added.

Air Arabia, now operating in its 16th year, runs flights to over 170 destinations, from four different hubs spread in the UAE, Morocco and Egypt.