THE International Air Transport Association (Iata) announced full-year global passenger traffic results for 2016 showing demand (revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 6.3 per cent compared to 2015 (or 6.0 per cent if adjusted for the leap year). This strong performance was well ahead of the ten-year average annual growth rate of 5.5 per cent. Capacity rose 6.2 per cent (unadjusted) compared to 2015, pushing the load factor up 0.1 percentage points to a record full-year average high of 80.5 per cent.
Middle East carriers had the strongest regional annual traffic growth for the fifth year in a row. RPKs expanded 11.8 per cent, consolidating the region’s position as the third-largest market for international passengers. Capacity growth (13.7 per cent) continued to outstrip demand, with the result that the load factor fell 1.3 percentage points to 74.7 per cent.
Air Arabia’s net profit for the full year ending December 31, 2016 was Dh509 million ($138.5 million), a 4 per cent lower than 2015 figure of Dh531 million ($144.5 million). Turnover for the full year 2016 was in line with the preceding 12 months reaching Dh3.8 billion ($1 billion). More than 8.4 million passengers flew with Air Arabia in 2016, a 12 per cent year-on-year increase. The average seat load factor in 2016 stood at 79 per cent.
Air Arabia added nine new routes to its global network in 2016 from its five operating hubs in the UAE, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan. The carrier took delivery of seven new aircraft and ended the year with a fleet of 46 Airbus A320 aircraft operating to 124 routes across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia said: “2016 was a challenging year for the global aviation market as the economic and political uncertainty continued to impact the industry. We have seen vigilant fiscal markets, weakening currencies and political instability impacting airlines performance. Despite all challenges, Air Arabia recorded solid full year results driven by growth, efficient operations and tight cost controls”.
Flydubai announced its full-year results for 2016 reporting a profit of Dh31.6 million ($8.6 million). It has reported total revenue of Dh5 billion ($1.37 billion) an increase of 2.4 per cent compared to the same period last year. The stronger second half, driven by increased passenger numbers, was impacted by downward pressure on yield leading to lower overall revenue growth reflecting a continuation of the same adverse factors reported in the first half.
Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive officer, said: “Over the last two years we have seen passenger traffic grow cumulatively by 52 per cent in terms of revenue passenger kilometre. We continue to demonstrate that we gain loyal customers across our network who recognise the benefits of direct air links and enjoy our on-board offering. The continuation of mainly lower fuel prices and ongoing cost management efforts are reflected in the 16 per cent improvement in terms of available seat kilometre (ASKM) over the last two years. We have however seen a difficult pricing and operating environment.”
During the course of the year, increased flight frequency on existing routes and a maturing in the performance of the 41 new routes launched in 2014 and 2015 saw ASKM grow by 9 per cent.
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