Air Arabia's first-half profits climb sharply

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Middle Eastern budget carrier Air Arabia turned in a 17% rise in net profit over the first half of the year, on a 19% increase in turnover to Dhs1.5 billion ($408 million).

It achieved a net profit of Dhs134 million for the six-month period to 30 June. For the second quarter the figure rose 15% to Dhs76 million.

Air Arabia carried more than 3 million passengers in the first half, up 16%, while achieving a load factor of 82%.

Chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani says the airline has managed to post healthy results "despite on-going political turmoil in parts of the region".

"We will continue to focus on our business expansion strategy which will enable us to launch new services and enter new geographies in the coming six months," he adds.

Over the six months the airline opened five new Sharjah routes and brought its overall network to 86 destinations from its bases in the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Egypt. It has 33 Airbus A320s and will take another four this year.