Emirates Group has announced a net loss of AED14.1 billion (US$ 3.8 billion) for the first six months of financial year.
The figure is down from a profit of AED862 million (US$ 235 million) for the same period last year.
The group - which includes Emirates Airline and dnata - reported revenue of AED13.7 billion (US$ 3.7 billion) for the first six months of 2020-21, down 74 per cent from AED53.3 billion (US$ 14.5 billion) during the same period of 2019.
This reversal in fortunes was due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which brought global air passenger travel to a halt for many weeks as countries closed their borders and imposed travel restrictions.
As part of pandemic containment measures, Emirates hub in Dubai also suspended scheduled passenger flights for eight weeks during April and May.
Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said: “We began our current financial year amid a global lockdown when air passenger traffic was at a literal standstill.
“In this unprecedented situation for the aviation and travel industry, the Emirates Group recorded a half-year loss for the first time in over 30 years.
“As passenger traffic disappeared, Emirates and dnata have been able to rapidly pivot to serve cargo demand and other pockets of opportunity.
“This has helped us recover our revenues from zero to 26 per cent of our position same time last year.”
Overall capacity during the first six months of the year declined by 67 per cent to 9.8 billion available tonne kilometres (ATKM) due to a substantially reduced flight programme over the past months.
Capacity measured in available seat kilometres (ASKM), shrunk by 91 per cent, while passenger traffic carried measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKM) was down by 96 per cent.
Average passenger seat factors fell to 39 per cent, compared with last year’s pre-pandemic figure of 81 per cent.
Emirates carried 1.5 million passengers between April 1st and September 30th, down 95 per cent from the same period last year.
Al Maktoum added: “We have been able to tap on our own strong cash reserves, and through our shareholder and the broader financial community, we continue to ensure we have access to sufficient funding to sustain the business and see us through this challenging period.
“In the first half of 2020-21, our shareholder injected US$2 billion into Emirates by way of an equity investment and they will support us on our recovery path.”