The Emirates Group, one of true the success stories of the airline industry over the last ten years has announced a record net profit of Dhs 1.75 billion (US $476 million) for the financial year 2003-04 ended on 31st March. The figures represent a 67 per cent improvement over last year’s net profit. Total revenue also reached an all-time high of Dhs 14 billion ($3.8 billion), which is up 35.5 per cent from last year. Whilst the wider industry continues to struggle for recovery the Emirates Group’s new best-ever annual results stem from growing customer preference for the airline and the products and services of its associated travel-related companies. The ownership will be paid a dividend of Dhs 329 million ($90 million).
The 2003-04 Report and Accounts of the Dubai-based Emirates Group, which comprises Emirates Airline, Dnata and associated companies, were disclosed by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates, during a news conference in Dubai.
In an announcement that will give a great boost to the success of the Arabian Travel Market 2004 Ahmed said: “The Emirates Group’s strong performance once again in the latest financial year confirms not just that we are on the right track but also that we are doing our part to help our government realize its aggressive master plan for Dubai’s development.”
He added: “We have plans in place for 2004-05 to keep the momentum and continue to deliver the same kind of performance.”
Emirates Airline, the driving force behind the group’s continued success carried 10.4 million passengers during the financial year, an increase of almost two million passengers or 23 per cent more than the year before. The airline’s profit of Dhs 1.57 billion ($429 million) was 73.5 per cent better than last year’s.
Dnata, Emirates’ air travel services provider showed a profit of Dhs 174 million ($47 million) that was 23 per cent better than last year, on turnover of Dhs 1.1 billion ($298 million), 14 per cent above the year before.
Finally, the cash balance for Emirates stood at a robust Dhs 6.4 billion ($1.8 billion) at the year’s end, compared with Dhs 4.8 billion ($1.3 billion) the preceding year - and substantially more than the internal benchmark of cash balances for at least six months’ worth of debt obligations and lease rentals.
In outlining the reasons for the Group’s strong growth, Sheikh Ahmed reaffirmed the integral part Dubai plays in the success of the Emirates Group. This is a particularly significant reference for ATM 2004 and a boost for the region as a whole.
In commenting on “the recipe for our continued success”, he singled out “the leveraging of Dubai’s location as a global hub and of the government’s ambitious development programme, our multi-billion dollar investment in new equipment and, crucially, the skill and dedication of our team.” Success is built by pushing hard in all areas of tourism development.
Sheikh Ahmed also noted: “We have not joined any alliances nor followed any ‘guru’s teachings’ and have simply knuckled down to winning more supporters by offering them quality products.” It sounds simple but there is clearly a great deal of determination required to drive significant progress in the region. And some pride in their achievements too. He added that the Emirates Group as a whole contributed an estimated Dhs 13.6 billion ($3.7 billion) to the U.A.E. economy during the past financial year.
Sheikh Ahmed noted the importance of the “the team” and the Emirates Group employed 22,500 people - an increase of 4,000 or 22 per cent over last year. This represented an average weekly hiring of 77 new employees - and a mere fraction of the staggering 5,000 job applications received weekly on average by the Group. The total of 265,000 applications received during the past financial year represented an increase of 29 per cent over the previous one. This is a great indicator of their success.
The Emirates Airline’s fleet expanded by 15 aircraft during the past financial year and had reached 61 by 31 March. It presently stands at 67 - including five freighters - serving 75 destinations in 53 countries.
With 90 new aircraft in the pipeline, the airline expects its fleet to continue to expand at the rate of at least one new aircraft per month for the rest of this decade, and is on course for a 130-plus fleet by 2012. It expects to hire its 1,000th pilot and 5,000th cabin crew within the next few weeks.
Touching on the Group’s outlook for 2004-05, Sheikh Ahmed confidently concluded: “This financial year will see the airline increase its capacity by 26 per cent, while Dnata will continue its winning ways with new initiatives to boost services to customers.” With the successes of 2003-04 it would be foolish to question his predictions.