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Emirates report record half-year profits

Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum has called for more competition in aircraft construction Reuters/Satish Kumar
Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum has called for more competition in aircraft construction
  • Up 134% on last year
  • Airline took 26m passengers
  • Chairman adds note of caution

Dubai’s Emirates airline has reported record profits for the first half of the financial year 2023-24, fuelled by strong passenger demand for international travel.

Profits were up 134 percent from this time last year, to a high of AED9.4 billion ($2.6 billion).

Revenue for the city’s flagship carrier was up 19 percent to AED59.5 billion.

“We are seeing the fruition of our plans to return stronger and better from the dark days of the pandemic,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said.

Emirates carried 26.1 million passengers between April 1 and September 30 this year, up 31 percent from the same period last year.

This is higher than the regional average, with the International Air Transport Association reporting in October that Middle Eastern airlines posted a 27.3 percent year-on-year increase in travellers in August. 

Overall Emirates’ operating costs grew by 9 percent in line with increased operations. At 34 percent fuel remains the largest component, down from 38 percent in the same period last year.

Emirates’ cargo operations was up 11 percent, with over 1 million tonnes uplifted over the six month period.

By the end of September, the airline was operating passenger and cargo services to 144 airports, using its entire Boeing 777 fleet and 104 A380s.

“The company’s capacity to achieve record-breaking profits in the post-pandemic recovery phase suggests a strong momentum that could continue as global travel demand stabilises and grows – despite the current Israel-Gaza conflict,” Linus Bauer, founder and managing director of Bauer Aviation Advisory, said.

Passenger numbers at Dubai’s airports were up 56 percent year on year in the first half of 2023, according to Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism.

The emirate welcomed 8.55 million international visitors with 20 percent yearly growth, exceeding the number recorded before the pandemic.

The wider Emirates Group, meanwhile, saw its six-month financial results increase by 138 percent from 12 months ago to AED10.1 billion.

Revenue for the period was up 20 percent at AED67.3 billion.

“Across the group, we’ve continued to ramp up operations safely and move nimbly to meet customer demand,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

Emirates Group’s global airport and travel services business, dnata, saw profits increase 200 percent to AED709 million.

Although forecasting “healthy” demand for the second half of the financial year, Sheikh Ahmed added a note of caution around rising fuel prices, the strengthening US dollar, inflationary costs and geopolitics.