Sharjah-based low-cost carrier Air Arabia has reported a net profit of AED376m ($102m) in the third quarter ending 30 September. This figure is 27 per cent higher compared to the company’s reported earnings for the corresponding period in 2016.

This brings the carrier’s total net profit for the first nine months of 2017 to AED637m, up 18 per cent compared to year-ago figure.

Air Arabia’s strong financial performance during this period presents a strong contrast to rival Flydubai, which reported AED142.5m in losses in the first half of the year.

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

 It also served over 2.33 million passengers, a 3 per cent increase on the same figure one year previously.

Air Arabia’s average seat load factor, or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats, also remained high, at 81 per cent, in the third quarter of 2017.

 The carrier attributed its impressive financial performance on the region’s airlines to cost control measures and growth strategy adopted by its management team.

Air Arabia received three new Airbus A320 aircraft and added 14 new routes from its five operating hubs in the UAE, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan in the first nine months of 2017, bringing its total coverage to 133 routes.

The budget for the expansion of Air Arabia’s main hub, Sharjah International airport, understood to be around AED1.5bn ($400m), has been approved.

In March, Sharjah Airport Authority awarded US-based Parsons a project management services contract for the planning, design, construction, and commissioning of the airport’s expansion.

The project will include numerous facilities as well as the expansion of the passenger terminal building and the widening of roads to and from the airport. The planned expansion will take the airport capacity from 8 to 25 million passengers annually.