Sharjah-based low-cost carrier Air Arabia reported AED297m ($80.9m) in net profit for the third quarter of 2016. This marks a 26 per cent increase from the figure reported by the company for the corresponding period in the previous year.

Revenue for the period was at AED1.12bn, while the number of passengers served increased by 14 per cent to reach 2.27 million, the company said in a statement.

The average load factor for the quarter, or the passengers carried as a percentage of available seats, was at 81 per cent.

The year-to-date performance of Air Arabia points to improved operations in the current year. Aggregate net profit for the first three quarters of 2016 stood at AED542m, up 15 per cent compared with AED472m reported in the corresponding period of 2015. Revenue for the same period stood at AED 2.96bn, some 3 per cent higher compared with the same period in 2015.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Thani, chairman of Air Arabia, attributed his company’s strong performance to its “commitment to deliver high-value air travel to its customers and return on investments to its shareholders”.

Al-Thani said he remains confident about the long-term prospects for the low-cost carrier industry in the region despite challenging trading conditions driven by excess capacity in the market, political instability in some markets and the effect of lower oil prices on the regional economies.

Air Arabia’s performance in the third quarter stands in strong contrast to the latest earnings report of Dubai’s Emirates Group, whose net profit fell by 64 per cent in the third quarter to AED1.3bn.