The Sharjah-based low-cost carrier recorded a net profit of AED82m during the second quarter of 2008, itself a 14 per cent year-on-year rise.

The AED160m net profit for the six months to 30 June was derived from turnover of AED871m.

The airline carried 1.6 million passengers during the first half of 2008, a 33 per cent increase on the same period last year.

The seat load factor – an industry standard measure of the number of passengers carried as a percentage of the available seats – for the year to date is 86 per cent, a 3 per cent rise on 2007.

The increase in passengers comes despite the impact of soaring fuel costs, which now accounts for about 40 per cent of total overheads (MEED 13:6:08).

The airline introduced four new destinations during the first half: Kozhikode and New Delhi in India, Shiraz in Iran and Dhaka in Bangladesh. The company now flies to 41 destinations.