Air Arabia reveals $46m loss in H1 due to flight restrictions

Movement restrictions as a result of Covid-19 pandemic saw turnover drop 53% to

Air Arabia today operates a mix of scheduled, repatriation, charter, and cargo flights across its operating hubs in the UAE, Morocco, and Egypt.

Sharjah-based Air Arabia has announced a net loss of AED169m ($46m) for the first half of the year as the low cost carrier flies against the headwinds of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The company’s turnover for the first six months of 2020 fell 53 percent to AED1.021 billion ($278m), compared to AED2.173bn ($592m) in the same period last year.

As moves were implemented by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus in March, including closing the country’s borders and grounding all passenger flights, Air Arabia revealed that it served a total of 2.48m passengers from all of its four hubs in the first half of 2020 – a drop of 57 percent compared to H1 2019.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia, said: “Air Arabia started the year 2020 with strong performance promising another year of growth and profitability. However, the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 left airlines worldwide battling the strongest challenge in its history.”

With regular flight schedules decimated by the impact of the virus, operations during the second quarter for Air Arabia relied largely on repatriation, charter and cargo flights.

As a result, revenues plummeted to AED120m ($32.7m) and the company recorded a net loss in the second quarter of AED239m ($65.1m).

Al Thani, added: “The full impact of Covid-19 on airline operations was fully materialised in the second quarter as a result of border closures and flights suspension across all key markets. This fact has led airlines to focus on controlling cost while supporting global relief efforts with repatriation and aid flights.”

Air Arabia was one of many airlines forced to make at least two rounds of redundancies.

In April, IATA – the International Air Transport Association – predicted that global airlines need $200bn of state support to survive and warned that if nothing is done, only about 30 of the nearly 700 airlines around the world will still be in existence in a few months.

However, with the world gradually reopening, amid strict health and safety guidelines, Al Thani is confident the industry will recover.

“The prospects of the global aviation industry remain strong and will continue to play a vital role in the global economic recovery. While we started to see gradual opening of selective markets around the world, it is now clear that Covid-19 will continue to have a lasting impact on the aviation industry and the path to recovery is expected to be gradual,” he said.

“At Air Arabia, while we remain in a strong position weathering the Covid-19 impact, we continue to look at this challenge with a long-term view keeping business continuity as the prime focus,” he added.

Air Arabia today operates a mix of scheduled, repatriation, charter, and cargo flights across its operating hubs in the UAE, Morocco, and Egypt.

In July 2020, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, the capital’s first low cost carrier, launched its operations from its base at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

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