The Dubai-based Emirates Group has reported record profits for financial 2009-10, despite the global economic slowdown.
In a difficult market, the group’s net profits for the financial year ended March 31st 2010 increased 248 per cent to US$ 1.1 billion.
Revenue at the group – which comprises of Emirates Airline, Dnata and subsidiary companies - remained stable at US$ 12.4 billion, reflecting lower passenger and cargo yields offset by increased traffic.
The Group profit margin improved to 9.1 per cent from 2.6 per cent a year earlier.
At a news conference earlier today group chief executive, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said: “It has been an exceptional year of continued profitability against a backdrop of the worst global recession in generations.
“The first half of the financial year however, was extremely challenging as the world continued to grapple with the economic crisis.
“Our pioneering spirit and ability to adapt in adverse conditions helped us to push through this harsh economic climate with an extremely strong performance in the latter part of the year.”
Some 27.5 million passengers flew with Emirates over the financial year, up by 4.7 million when compared to the previous year. Further, Dnata’s international ground handling operations spread to 20 airports in nine countries.
“Time and time again Emirates has weathered adversity. We have operated through regional conflict, SARS, the Asian economic collapse and most recently the global recession,” added Sheikh Ahmed
“The increase in passenger numbers is attributable not only to our position at the centre of the new Silk Road between East and West, but also to our commitment in increasing our network and service standards, during a time where many competitors were doing the opposite.”
Emirates Airline’s revenues remained stable at $US 11.8 billion, an increase of 0.4 per cent from the previous year. Airline profits of US$ 964 million marked an increase of 416 per cent over 2008-09’s profits of US$ 187 million.
Profits were assisted by a significant fall in the cost of aviation fuel during the year.
The airline launched passenger services to three new destinations – Durban, Luanda and Tokyo – in financial 2009-10 and increased frequencies onto existing routes in high-demand markets.
Joining what is a growing market, Emirates confirmed earlier this month it will begin flights to Baghdad in July – one of six new routes planned for this year.
The airline explained the decision to add Baghdad flights was made because of signs Iraq is stabilising more than seven years after the 2003 US-led invasion.
The flights are also a possible sign of increased Arab investment in Iraq’s oil and commercial sectors.
Earlier this month, FlyDubai and Qatar Airways said they are considering adding routes to Iraq, while in April Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways began Baghdad service.