- Says its keeping close watch on headwinds such as rising fuel prices, strengthening US dollar, inflationary costs and geo-politics
Putting the COVID-19 pandemic well and truly behind it, Dubai-based Emirates Group reported a 2023-24 half-year net profit of AED10.1 billion ($ 2.7 billion), surpassing its previous record half-year profit of AED 4.2 billion last year by a whopping 138%.
In a statement issued on Thursday, it said this was “its best-ever six-month financial result… driven by strong demand for air transport across the world, which has been on an upward trajectory since the last pandemic travel restrictions were lifted.”
The Group - made up of Emirates Airline and air services provider dnata - said it has been able to tap into its cash reserves to support business needs, including debt payments. So far, Emirates has repaid AED 9.2 billion of its COVID-19 related loans. The Group also paid AED 4.5 billion in dividend to its owner, as declared at the end of its 2022-23 financial year.
His Highness (HH) Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group said, “We are seeing the fruition of our plans to return stronger and better from the dark days of the pandemic.”
He noted that profit for the first six months of 2023-24 has nearly matched the record full year profit in 2022-23, describing this as “a tremendous achievement that speaks to the talent and commitment within the organisation, the strength of our business model, and power of Dubai’s vision and policies that has enabled the creation of a strong, resilient, and progressive aviation sector.”
Looking forward, he said that for the second half of this financial year, customer demand across its business divisions is expected to remain healthy.
In terms of challenges he noted: “We are keeping a close watch on headwinds such as rising fuel prices, the strengthening US dollar, inflationary costs, and geo-politics.”
Dubai, widely considered the Gulf’s tourism and business hub, bounced back strongly after its services-dominated economy came to a near standstill during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rebound in travel and tourism was a key component of that recovery.
A majority of the group’s profit came from its airline, whose profit for the first half of 2023-24 hit a new record of AED9.4 billion, up from AED4 billion year-on-year.
Emirates’ direct operating costs including fuel grew by 9% in line with increased operations. Fuel remains the largest component of the airline’s operating cost (34%), compared to 38% in the same period last year.
Meanwhile, the Emirates Group’s employee base grew 6% to an overall count of 108,996 on 30 September 2023 compared to 31 March.
Emirates said it continued to increase its global flight operations, adding capacity and connections through its Dubai hub to meet customer demand across markets.
By 30 September, the airline was operating passenger and cargo services to 144 airports, utilising its entire Boeing 777 fleet and 104 A380s.
In the first half of 2023-24, Emirates launched a new global brand advertising campaign featuring Hollywood actor Penelope Cruz as well a new city check-in facility at Dubai International Financial Centre where customers can check-in and drop luggage ahead of their flight to save time at the airport.
Emirates carried 26.1 million passengers between 1 April and 30 September 2023, up 31% from the same period last year.
The airline has a significant presence in Pakistan, with roughly a dozen flights flying to Dubai daily from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Sialkot, Multan and Peshawar.
According to the Department of Economy & Tourism’s performance report for January - September 2023, the city has so far welcomed 12.4 million visitors in 2023, up from 10.12 million in 2022, with Pakistan coming in as number 10 on the list of source markets.
Some 254,000 Pakistanis entered Dubai in this period, down from 279,000 in the year prior.
India came in at number one with 1.8 million tourists visiting, followed by Saudi Arabia, UK, Russia, Oman, US, China, Germany and Iran.