New Delhi, Nov 14 (UNI) The Sharjah-based Air Arabia, the first and largest low-cost carrier in West Asia and North Africa, today announced that it had signed an agreement with Airbus for the acquisition of 49 A320 aircraft having a total book value of 3.5 billion US dollars.
Air Arabia said it had signed a firm contract for 34 Airbus A320 aircraft with an option for 15 more.
The announcement, which was made during the Dubai Air Show, has yet to specify the engines to be installed on its new fleet.
The deal will more than treble the size of Air Arabia's fleet, and underlines its ambition to increase its total operating fleet to over 50 aircraft by 2015 and become a leading airline.
Air Arabia Chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani said the decision to choose the Airbus A320 reflects the company's objectives in continuously providing the best value for money services in the region.
''Our vision is to be one of the world's leading low-cost carriers in terms of profit margins, innovation, reputation and operational excellence. Having the A320 at the heart of our fleet is the best and quickest way we can achieve this. The aircraft has an outstanding success record throughout the world and is ideal for our needs and those of our customers,'' he said.
Air Arabia had released earlier this month its financial results for the first nine months of the current year. The compoany posted a net profit of AED (United Arab Emirates Dirham) 280 million, up 331 per cent compared to AED 65 million during the same period last year.
During the period, the company posted a turnover of AED 889 million, up 68 per cent compared to AED 528 million in 2006.
In the first nine months of the current year, the airline served around two million passengers, an increase of 55 per cent compared to 1.26 million passengers during the same period last year.
Meanwhile, the airline announced that it would establish a second hub in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, providing it a platform from which to cover a wider region of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) market.
The announcement follows the signing of a management agreement between Air Arabiaand Regional Air Lines, the leading private carrier in Morocco.