Sharjah-based low-cost carrier Air Arabia has signed a contract to lease over a period of eight years six Airbus A321neo aircraft from US-based Air Lease Corporation.

The deal is valued in excess of $2.79bn based on current list prices.

The deal will help Air Arabia add long-haul destinations to its network particularly to Southeast Asia and Africa as well as Eastern Europe, Adel al-Ali, group CEO of Air Arabia, said on the second day of the Dubai Airshow.

Al-Ali says he expects to see sustained strong demand from passengers on these routes.

The new aircraft will join Air Arabia’s fleet from 2019.

Between now and then, Air Arabia has three more planes lined up to join its fleet of 50 A320s.

Air Arabia reported a 27 per cent year-on-year rise in net profit to AED376m ($102m) for the third quarter of 2017.

This brought the carrier’s total net profit for the first nine months of 2017 to AED637m, up 18 per cent on the corresponding period in 2016.

Air Arabia reported more muted growth in terms of revenue, which increased by 4 per cent to reach AED1.16bn during the third quarter of 2017.

The carrier attributed its strong financial performance in the face of sustained pressure on the yield margins of regional airlines to effective cost control measures and the growth strategy adopted by its management team.