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Air Arabia Q1 profit up 16% as passenger numbers improve

Air Arabia Q1 profit up 16% as passenger numbers improve

The airline carried 2.8 million passengers, which it said was up 8 per cent year on year

Air Arabia on Sunday posted a 16 per cent jump in first-quarter profit, citing a rise in passenger numbers.

The Middle East budget airline reported a full-year loss for 2018 after booking impairments mainly attributable to its exposure to collapsed private equity firm Abraaj.

Air Arabia made a net profit of Dhs128m ($34.9m) in the three months to March 31 on revenue up 17 per cent to Dhs1bn, it said in a statement.

The airline carried 2.8 million passengers, which it said was up 8 per cent year on year, and filled an average of 84 per cent of seats, 3 per cent more than a year ago.

Chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed al-Thani warned that oil prices, geopolitical and economic developments are affecting trading conditions but said the airline was confident in the “long-term fundamentals” of the region’s aviation sector.

Chief executive Adel Ali had said on April 30 that the entire exposure to Abraaj was booked in impairments in the 2018 results so the airline could concentrate on its business.

“The legal side is taking care of it,” he said.

The airline said in January that it had launched legal proceedings against Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi.

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