, DUBAI, May 4 – Low-cost carrier Air Arabia posted Wednesday a 12 percent drop in net profits during the first quarter, blaming regional uncertainty and high oil cost.
Net profit stood at 44.2 million dirhams ($12.04 million), compared to 50 million dirhams ($13.6 million) in the year-earlier period.
"We are satisfied with our results for the first quarter of this year that is in line with our expectations, given the region\’s uncertainty that has adversely affected the sector," said Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al-Thani, chairman of the Sharjah-based carrier.
"Though the region has clearly shown positive signs indicating the emergence from the more serious effects of the global financial downturn, the rise in fuel costs continues to challenge regional carriers. Despite this, Air Arabia has shown strong resilience and remains on a path of steady growth," he added.
Turnover reached 513 million dirhams ($139.8 million), up six percent from the corresponding period last year.
The number of passengers increased 11 percent to 1.2 million. The average seat factor load rose to 85 percent from 80 percent a year earlier.
The first and largest Middle East no-frills carrier, which is listed on the Dubai stock market, operates a fleet of 27 new Airbus A320 aircraft. It serves 67 routes from its three hubs in the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Egypt.
In 2010, Air Arabia posted net profit of 309.6 million dirhams ($84.4 million), down from 452.2 million dirhams ($123.2 million) in 2009.