Sharjah-based carrier Air Arabia has announced a full-year net profit of AED274m ($74.5m) for 2011.

The carrier’s turnover for the same period was AED2.4bn, which amounts to a 16 per cent increase on 2010. Air Arabia handled a total of 4.7 million passengers in 2011, a 6 per cent rise on the 4.3 million passengers carried the previous year.

Air Arabia launched six new destinations in 2011, including Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Kharkiv and Donetsk in the Ukraine, and Gassim and Yanbu in Saudi Arabia. The airline now operates to more than 70 destinations.

The carrier also took delivery of six new Airbus A320 aircraft in 2011 and is expected to take delivery of six more in 2012. The aircraft are part of a 44-strong A320 order Air Arabia made in 2007.

The airline also reported a net profit of AED78.7m for the fourth quarter of 2011 alone, a 7 per cent increase for the three months ending 31 December. In the fourth quarter of 2010, the airline reported a net profit of AED73.6m.

Air Arabia’s turnover for the fourth quarter of last year was AED638m, which is a 17 per cent rise on figures from the previous year. The airline handled a total of 1,180,402 passengers for the quarter, a 2 per cent rise on the number of passengers carried in 2010.

Air Arabia’s board of directors also proposed a dividend distribution of 4.5 per cent of capital, which is equivalent to 4.5 fils a share. This proposal will need to be ratified by shareholders at the airline’s upcoming annual general meeting.