Air Arabia passengers rise 15%

Analysts expect Air Arabia to post fourth quarter profit of Dh97.4m (FILE)

UAE-based low cost carrier Air Arabia expects its passenger traffic to increase as much as 15 per cent in the next four years and plans to add eight more routes by the end of the year, its chief executive said.

"With the growth of fleet, seats and passenger numbers, hopefully the revenues will also grow," Adel Ali told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai on Monday.

The Arab world's largest listed airline expects to increase the number of routes to 75 by the end of the year. Air Arabia currently services 67 routes across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The airline, set up in 2003 in Sharjah, also plans to open its new Jordan hub in June this year. It has a hub in Morocco and launched operations in its third hub in Egypt last year.

"We have four hubs at the moment including Jordan. We will look to expand our business through these hubs in the next 12-18 months," Ali said.

The airline is under pressure from rivals including Kuwait's Jazeera Airways and Dubai-owned FlyDubai, but also from bigger carriers such as Emirates trying to cope with a drop in international passenger travel.

In November, Air Arabia said third-quarter net profit declined 5.6 per cent but the results still beat analysts' expectations.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average expect the company to post fourth quarter net profit of Dh97.4 million.

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