Emirates Airline has just been honoured with aviation’s top finance award, when it was recognised as “2003 Airline of the Year” at the 5th Annual Deal of the Year Award, held during the 24th Annual New York Airfinance Conference. The award, from international magazine Airfinance Journal, which is published in London, is the only global aviation award to recognise financial performance.
The event capped a two-day conference attended by hundreds of airlines, bankers, financial decision-makers, regulators, lawyers, consultants and manufacturers.
It gave Emirates an opportunity to underscore its first-ever North American route, starting from 1st June when ultra-longhaul Airbus A340-500 jets will begin to fly daily nonstop services between Dubai and New York.
Alasdair Whyte, managing editor of Airfinance Journal said: “Emirates’ financial achievements in 2003 were simply phenomenal.
“On the treasury side, Emirates completed a string of innovative and landmark financing deals. It also made a record profit in what was the toughest year in global aviation history.
“It outperformed many competitors who had less exposure. Its record order at the Paris Airshow helped restore confidence in aircraft manufacturing. Its ability to tap various finance markets—particularly its leadership in Islamic finance—show the confidence that lenders have in its strategy and management team,” Mr Whyte said.
Riyaz Peermohamed, Senior Vice President Corporate Treasury for Emirates Group, said: “With a record-breaking US $26 billion in new aircraft on order, Emirates’ fleet will double to more than 130 jets in just eight years to accommodate rapid expansion to the world’s major gateways, including New York and other U.S. cities.
“Innovative financing and steadfast credibility with a wide range of regional and international resources have been, and will continue to be, critical to supporting this growth.”
Mr Peermohamed also presented an Emirates case study during a seminar at the conference.
Emirates’ fleet of 67 wide-bodied jets is one of the youngest in the skies, with an average age of approximately four years. Its fleet will more than double by 2012 to include eight A340-500s for New York and other longhaul routes, and 26 Boeing 777-300ERs.
Emirates was the first airline to order the revolutionary A380 double-decker, in 2001, and has 45 on order, making it the largest buyer of the yet-to-fly super-jumbo aircraft that will join its fleet from 2006. It is also launch carrier for the innovative A340-600 HGW.
The airline has experienced rapid and consistent growth, above 20 per cent a year on average and has been profitable for the last 17 years.
Financially self-sustained and unprotected, Emirates declared a record $429 million profit in the 2003-04 financial year, an increase of 73.5 per cent over the previous year. Its revenue reached an all-time high of $3.6 billion - an improvement of $1 billion, or 37 per cent, on the previous year.
Emirates ranks among the world’s five most profitable and 20 largest airlines. It operates under Dubai’s open-skies policy, with more than 100 airlines in free and fair competition. It serves 76 cities in 54 countries in Europe, North America (cargo only until June 1st), Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent and Asia-Pacific.