Sharjah budget airline Air Arabia posted its first ever quarterly drop due to a slow Ramadan season and concerns about the H1N1 flu pandemic.

The company said third quarter net profit fell nine per cent to $39.2 million. Third quarter net profit in 2008 stood at $43 million.

The company’s net profit for the first nine months of this year stood at Dh337 million, an increase of six per cent.

Passenger traffic in the third quarter of 2009 was impacted by the Ramadan season, worries related to the H1N1 virus and the continuing effects of the global financial downturn.

Net profit for the first nine months of the year rose six per cent to $91.7 million.

Passenger numbers between January and September increased 14 per cent to 2.96 million compared to 2.6 million during the same period last year.

Revenues stood at $408 million in the first nine months of the year.