Sunday, October 28, 2012

Air Arabia marks 9th year with 2 new A320s

Air Arabia marked the ninth anniversary of its first flight by taking delivery of two new A320 aircraft, and said on Sunday it would add another 31 Airbus aeroplanes to boost its fleet size to 50 by 2016.

“As we continue to unlock opportunities for the low-cost model in the wider Arab region, we look forward to the delivery of more new aircraft in the near future,” said Adel Ali, Air Arabia’s group chief executive officer.

Speaking to Khaleej Times recently, Ali said Air Arabia would be adding eight to 10 aircraft per year until 2016. With the addition of the two aircraft, the fleet size of the region’s first low-cost carrier has risen to 31. The budget carrier has been recording steady growth in profit, passenger traffic and fleet size since its inception despite several challenges, including fuel price hikes and the Arab Spring, both of which the region’s aviation sector had been facing.

Asked whether Air Arabia would consider offering a full suite of services to cater to a different segment of customers, Ali said Air Arabia would stick to its current business model as there is a big growth potential to be tapped for low-cost carriers in the region.

Ali said Air Arabia continued to report sustained profitability and achieve solid growth margins across its network. He attributed the success to the strong business model and its robust management team.

For the six months ending June 30, 2012, it reported a net profit of Dh115 million, an increase of 22 per cent compared to Dh94 million in the corresponding period in 2011. The carrier’s turnover for the first half of 2012 stood at Dh1.3 billion, an increase of 22 per cent compared to Dh1.1 billion reported in the same period of 2011. The airline welcomed onboard 2.5 million passengers in the first half of 2012, an increase of 11 per cent compared to the same period last year.

In nine years, from serving five regional destinations with just two aircraft, Air Arabia has grown to become a leading regional airline with a strong network of destinations. Today, it serves 80 destinations spread across Europe, the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, Central Asia and North Africa from three hubs in the UAE, Morocco and Egypt.

“The delivery of two new aircraft is a great way to celebrate our anniversary this year,” said Ali. “Our modern and reliable aircraft enable us to combine superb value for money fares for our customers.”

Air Arabia has now taken delivery of 13 out of 44 A320 aircraft ordered back in 2007 and the low-cost pioneer expects another aircraft to be delivered before year-end 2012. The delivery of the 44 new aircraft will be completed by 2016, which will take the carrier’s fleet up to over 50 aircraft.

Ali said Air Arabia has been witnessing strong customer demand for its services. “We are pleased to see that more and more customers take full advantage of our value-for-money fares. Moving ahead, we look forward to providing our customers with even more value-for-money options, as well as an even wider range of services and destinations. Since the beginning of this year, Air Arabia introduced 10 new routes to its network.


http://www.khaleejtimes.com

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