UAE- Air Arabia swings into profit in Q4 proposes 10 fils dividend

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Dubai - Sharjah-based Air Arabia's net profit for 2017 grew by 30 per cent to Dh662 million as the low-cost carrier flew back into black in the fourth quarter on the back of improved operational efficiency.

It reported turnover for 2017 was in line with the preceding 12 months, reaching Dh3.74 billion.

More than 8.5 million passengers flew with Air Arabia in 2017 as the average seat load factor stood at 79 per cent.

The Board of Directors proposed a dividend of 10 fils per share.

Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, said by keeping to a single airplane model in the Airbus A320, the airline has managed to keep a lid on costs despite pushing forward with its expansion plans which now sees the airline pushing deeper into Europe and Russia to capture more high-yield traffic and ensure that its hub in Sharjah continues to make use of the available capacity it has and allow Air Arabia to grow.

"Air Arabia's increased profitability over the last year underscores its ability to drive up yields despite ever-growing regional competition," he said in a statement to Khaleej Times.

Listed in the Dubai bourse, the budget carrier's counter witnessed strong activity on Sunday as 15.59 million shares changed hands worth Dh20.3 million. The scrip gained 1.5 per cent to Dh1.3 ahead of the announcement of the results.

Air Arabia added 21 new routes to its network in 2017 from its five operating hubs in the UAE, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan.

The carrier took delivery of 4 new aircraft and ended the year with a fleet of 50 Airbus A320 aircraft operating to 140 routes across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe.

"While political and economic challenges continued to impact the performance of the aviation sector in 2017, we have focused more keenly than ever on ensuring the highest level of operational efficiency and appealing product offering," said Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia.

In Q4 2017, Air Arabia reported a net profit of Dh?26? million, an increase of 177 per cent compared to a net loss of Dh33 million registered in the last quarter of 2016.

Turnover for the three months ending December 31, 2017 was Dh858 million, an increase of 5.4 per cent compared to Dh814 million in the same period in 2016. Air Arabia flew over 2 million passengers in the final quarter of 2017 at an impressive seat factor of 78%.

"The solid operating metrics and high seat load factor that Air Arabia achieved in the fourth quarter were positively impacted by improvement in yield margins and capacity rationalisation that the market have seen in the last quarter," said Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani.


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