Jazeera posts Y1 profit, mulls Airbus option

Boodai: more profits this year

Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways, the Middle East’s first private airline, has announced that it registered a profit of $8.7 million in its first year of operations, ending December 31, 2006.

Jazeera’s audited financial statements covers its first complete financial year from January 1 to December 31, 2006 and reported revenues of $74.5 million with a profit of $8.7 million and earnings per share of 8.7 cents. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were $25.3 million.
The airline flew a total of 600,618 passengers, and its average revenue per passenger was $124. It posted a seat load factor of 67 per cent and an on-time performance of 93 per cent.
Looking ahead to 2007, chairman and CEO Marwan Boodai said, “In 2007 we will continue to enter high-demand cities while staying true to our five year business plan of establishing hubs throughout the Middle East.  We are off to a great start this year with the launch of our Dubai hub last month and the start of flights to Cyprus, Salalah, Muscat, Tehran, and Shiraz.”
Jazeera Airways recently submitted its application to the Kuwait Stock Exchange, the second largest bourse in the Middle East in terms of capitalization, and the airline looks to gain approval for listing in the second quarter of this year.
Separately, Boodai said the airline was considering exercising an option to buy six Airbus A320 aircraft, agencies reported. He said a decision might be expected in two months.
The airline aims to attract some 1.3 million passengers this year, up from around 600,000 in 2006, as it started flights to Cyprus, Oman and Iran, he added.

In related news, the airline made its first landing in Salalah. Travellers looking for a new exciting getaway can now fly to Salalah from Dubai with fares starting from Dh99 ($26.9), or KD20 ($69.1) from Kuwait.
“We are flying to Salalah because we believe in its potential. We believe it will soon become one of the top resort destinations in the Middle East,” Boodai said upon arriving in Salahah. “Investing in promising cities and stimulating traffic to those very cities is a strategy that we have adopted from our humble beginnings a year and a half ago. It is a strategy that paid dividends so far as we have stimulated traffic to over a dozen cities, such as Alexandria and Luxor, where we stimulated traffic by 194 per cent and 77 per cent respectively.”