Air Transport World



Now five years old, the Sharjah-based airline has proven that there is a robust and growing market for the low-cost model in the Middle East. Its first-quarter 2008 net profit soared 81% to AED78 million ($21.2 million), a result that followed a more-than-tripling of its full-year 2007 net profit to AED370 million. It added two A320s in the 2008 quarter to bring its fleet to 13 of the type and started flights to Kozhikode and New Delhi, upping its network to 39 destinations.

It will open a third hub in Rabat in the second half of 2008 following an agreement signed with Regional Air Lines under which it will assume management of and apply its low-cost business model to the Morocco-based, privately held carrier. Air Arabia and Bahrain investment bank Ithmaar will provide a "significant" capital injection into Regional.


In January it opened its second hub in Kathmandu, from where it launched a low-cost subsidiary in partnership with Nepalese carrier Yeti Airlines. The new carrier,, aims to "provide affordable and convenient service to a broad range of international destinations" throughout Asia. Its network spans Sharjah, Doha, Kuala Lumpur and Delhi and will include Bangkok and Hong Kong in the near future.


The Israeli flag carrier returned to profit in 2007 with $31.7 million in net earnings compared to a $33.9 million loss in 2006, when regional hostilities exacted a heavy toll on the bottom line. But it sank back to a $49.9 million loss in the 2008 first quarter, partly because it made a $20 million provision for a "possible settlement" with the US Dept. of Justice regarding antitrust activities related to cargo transport.

President and CEO Haim Romano emphasized that the company posted record revenue for both full-year 2007 and this year's first quarter. Its 2007 turnover of $1.93 billion was the highest in its 60-year history and a 16% increase from 2006. Romano said despite more foreign airlines operating to Israel and rising fuel costs, business passengers and a tourism boom are driving the impressive revenue performance. Load factors for 2007 were 85%.

The carrier's focus on long-haul and premium passengers was reflected in the addition of two 777s last year for use on routes to the US (bringing its total 777 fleet to six), new premium lounges at New York JFK and Los Angeles and "significant improvements" to its first and business class inflight products. It placed an order in March valued at $850 million for four Rolls-Royce Trent 800-powered 777-200ERs plus two options. Delivery is scheduled for 2012-13.


The Dubai-based airline marked its 20th consecutive year of profitability with net income of AED5 billion ($1. …

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