Air Arabia net profits up a fifth in first quarter

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UAE low-cost carrier Air Arabia registered grew sharply in the first quarter 2013, as passenger numbers, turnover and net profit were each up around a fifth.

Revenues increased 22% to AED 722 million ($197 million) compared with the January-March period in 2012, while net profit grew 20% to AED 59 million.

Passenger volume increased 18% to 1.4 million which, the Sharjah-based carrier says, was the highest number of travellers it has carried in a quarter during its nearly 10-year existence.

The airline has started four new routes - Abha, Saudi Arabia; Baghdad, Irak; Mattala, Sri Lanka and Sialkot, Pakistan - since January and increased frequencies on existing routes to Beirut in Lebanon, Salalah in Oman and Bangladesh's capital Dhaka.

Air Arabia took delivery of two Airbus A320s, with four more of the type to join the fleet by year end.