LONDON – Air Arabia (G9) has announced a loss for the first half of this year (1H20). The net loss of AED 169 million was due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was because of the regular flight schedule being affected by airport closures and suspension of flights.

During the pandemic, the focus for the airline was repatriation, charter and cargo flights. Lower revenues for the second quarter reached AED 120 million as a result. Second-quarter profitability hit a loss of AED 239 million.

Company turnover has decreased by 53% to AED 1.021 billion, which is compared to AED 2.173 billion. The airline handled 2.48 million passengers across all of its hubs, which is a 57% drop compared to 1H19.

Commenting on the results was Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed Al Thani, Chairman of Air Arabia, who gave a balanced view.


Chairman’s Comments

“Air Arabia started the year 2020 with strong performance promising another year of growth and profitability. However, the unprecedent impact of COVID-19 left airlines worldwide battling the strongest challenge in its history”.

“The full impact of COVID-19 on airline operations was fully materialized 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”.

He also gave his comments about the financial strength of the airline.

“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.”

“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”.

Photo: The National

Planning Ahead

As mentioned earlier, the carrier is continuing to offer repatriation, charter and cargo flights on top of scheduled operations.

Last month saw the carrier grow even in the wake of a global pandemic.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi (3L), the capital’s first low-cost carrier, launched operations from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).

This may not come as a surprise given European carrier Wizz Air (W6) announcing intentions to launch out of AUH also.

Photo: Dirk Grothe

August 7 saw the first Airbus A321neo in the Wizz Air Abu Dhabi registration take its first flight at the Airbus plant in Hamburg (XFW).

It remains clear that airlines are now thinking more ahead instead of on the current woes of COVID-19.

That mentality is a necessary one and could make or break the success of airlines in the Middle East going forward.

Featured Image: Air Arabia Airbus A320. Photo: Air Arabia