Air Arabia predicts double-digit traffic hike for full year

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Air Arabia is forecasting a 12% to 15% increase in passengers numbers for its current financial year, as well as a "positive" result, says its chief executive.

Adel Ali predicts the carrier will experience a double-digit traffic increase for the 12 months to February 2014 over the 5.3 million it carried in the preceding year. He says the growth is spread across the region rather than being restricted to specific markets.

This will be followed by annual passenger rises of 7-8% over the next two to three years as political instability continues to put a brake on traffic growth.

"The biggest challenge currently is the political instability [in Egypt and Syria] which does have an impact on travel. I believe if it was not there we would be seeing even higher growth," says Ali.

The airline carried three million passengers during the first half of 2013: a 16% increase compared with the 2.6 million passengers carried during the same period last year.

Ali expects the carrier's full-year financial result to be "positive" and in line with its half-year result: a net profit of Dhs134 million ($36.4 million).