Air Arabia made 50 per cent less profit in the first quarter of 2010, when compared to the same period of 2009.

The Sharjah-based low cost carrier achieved a profit of AED50m ($13.6m) in the first three months of 2010 compared to a profit of AED103m that it recorded in the first quarter of 2009.

The carrier says the decrease in its profitability was in line with global trends of the aviation industry represented by the increase in fuel costs and continued pressure on yield margins.

Air Arabia also posted a turnover of AED482m, a four per cent increase on the AED463m turnover seen in the first quarter of 2009.

The airline carried more than one million passengers in the first quarter of 2010, an increase of 9.2 per cent compared with the 951,000 passengers carried in the same period last year.

In March, Air Arabia predicted its profits for 2010 would fall 15 per cent compared to 2009 due to a 19 per cent increase in fuel costs (MEED 29:3:10).

Air Arabia’s secondary hubs in Casablanca in Morocco and Borg El-Arab airport near Alexandria in Egypt are not expected to be profitable until 2012, according to a report by Egyptian investment bank HC Securities and Investments.