UAE low-cost airline Air Arabia has recorded an increase of 13 per cent in passenger numbers in 2012 compared with 2011.

A total of 5,301,484 passengers used the Sharjah-based airline in 2012.

The rising passenger volumes reflect the airline’s growing network of destinations. In 2012, it launched nine new routes to Astana in Kazakhstan; Basra and Erbil in Iraq; Kazan, Rostov and Ufa in Russia, Odessa in Ukraine; Salalah in Oman; and Taif in Saudi Arabia.

The airline also expanded its fleet, taking delivery of six new aircraft in 2012 as part of a 44-aircraft order. The remaining aircraft will be delivered between now and 2016, doubling the size of the airline’s fleet.