July 31 (Bloomberg) -- Jazeera Airways, a Kuwait-based airline, said second-quarter profit advanced 23 percent as sales benefitted from rising personal income in the country.
Net income climbed to 2.6 million dinars ($9.2 million) from 2.1 million dinars a year earlier, the company said in an e-mailed statement today. EFG-Hermes Holding SAE’s estimate was for a profit of 2 million dinars. Revenue rose 12 percent to 15.6 million dinars.
“We expect to maintain the same double-digit growth in profit for the year,” Chairman Marwan Boodai said in a phone interview today. “Kuwait has the highest surplus ever registered in the government’s budget and that reflects the strength of the economy. We have more disposable income and that is helping an airline like Jazeera.”
Kuwait posted a preliminary budget surplus of 16.07 billion dinars in the first 11 months of the fiscal year that ended March 31, the Finance Ministry said April 23. The Persian Gulf emirate is set to post its 13th straight budget surplus because of high oil prices for the last fiscal year.
Jazeera Airways, which started operations in 2005 as the first Middle Eastern non-government owned airline, has a fleet of 12 Airbus SAS A320 planes and expects the delivery of three more by the end of 2014. It flies to 19 destinations in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.
The carrier will use the new A320s to replace older planes, which may be leased through its fully owned leasing-arm Sahaab Aircraft Leasing that has aircraft leased to Virgin America and Sri Lankan Airlines.
“We will maintain the same number of destinations and will focus on adding frequencies,” said Boodai. “We see increasing demand in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dubai, we believe that Egypt is coming back slowly but eventually there will be more demand there and one day in the Levant when the situation settles down there will be demand in Lebanon and Syria.”
Jazeera Airways competes at home with unprofitable state-owned Kuwait Airways Corp., which has been approved for sale by parliament in January 2008, and in the Gulf Arab region with Air Arabia PJSC, Gulf Air and FlyDubai. Jazeera started flights to Najaf in April, becoming the first Kuwaiti airline to fly to Iraq since the 1990 Gulf War.
Jazeera shares rose 1.2 percent to 410 fils at the close in Kuwait today. The stock has declined 0.9 percent this year.
To contact the reporters on this story: Fiona MacDonald in Kuwait at firstname.lastname@example.org; Tamara Walid in Dubai at