May 14, 2020 / 5:00 PM / 12 days ago

Air Arabia first quarter profit sinks 45% on coronavirus

DUBAI, May 14 (Reuters) - Middle East budget carrier Air Arabia reported a 45% fall in first quarter profit on Thursday, blaming the coronavirus pandemic that has crushed travel demand.

The United Arab Emirates’ only listed airline made 71 million dirhams ($19.3 million) in the three months to March 31, compared to 128 million dirhams a year earlier, it said in a statement.

Revenue fell 12% to 901 million dirhams and quarterly passenger traffic declined 14% to 2.4 million.

The airline recorded a strong start to the year but the coronavirus outbreak impacted overall performance in the first three months of the year, Chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed al-Thani said.

Headquartered at Sharjah airport in the UAE, Air Arabia also operates hubs in UAE emirate Ras Al Khaimah and in Egypt and Morocco.

Air Arabia laid off dozens of employees in the first quarter, blaming the impact of the virus, and warned the pending launch of its joint venture airline with Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi was dependent on market conditions. ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) (Writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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