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Emirates soars to its most profitable year

Emirates airline Emirates
Dubai’s flagship carrier reported a profit of AED10.6bn ($2.9bn) over the last 12 months
  • Record profit comes despite 57% rise in operating costs
  • Fuel bill surged 143% to AED33.7bn
  • Emirates carried 43.6m passengers, up 123%

Emirates airline has recorded the most profitable 12 months in its 38-year history, despite operating costs soaring 57 percent.

Dubai’s flagship carrier reported a profit of AED10.6 billion ($2.9 billion) over the last 12 months, a turnaround from a loss of AED3.9 billion in the previous financial year. 

The return to the black was a result of revenue rising 81 percent year-on-year to AED107.4 billion as the airline’s capacity increased 32 percent. Its profit margin was 9.9 percent.

The airline’s fuel bill surged 143 percent to AED33.7 billion – 36 percent of total costs, up from 23 percent in 2021-22.

Earlier this week Dubai Airports reported a 55.8 percent increase in passenger traffic in the first quarter of this year, reaching 95.6 percent of 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

Dubai International Airport (DXB), the world’s busiest international airport, reported around 21.3 million passengers in the first three months of 2023, the operator said.

Emirates carried 43.6 million passengers in the last year, a year-on-year increase of 123 percent.

Average seat factor was 79.5 percent in the last 12 months, compared to 58.6 percent the year before, leading to a 7 percent increase in average yield per passenger of AED0.375.

The company's holding group declared a dividend of AED4.5 billion to its owner, the Investment Corporation of Dubai, which is the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund.

Emirates also announced in its results that it had repaid the AED3 billion debt raised during the Covid pandemic ahead of maturity.

Dnata, the airline's sister company focused on aircraft and airport services, reported a profit of AED331 million, up from AED110 million the year before, as revenue rose 74 percent to AED14.9 billion.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, CEO of the airline, said the group supports 770,000 jobs and generates an estimated contribution to GDP of AED172.5 billion. 

“We go into 2023-24 with a strong positive outlook and expect the group to remain profitable," Sheikh Ahmed said.

"We will work hard to hit our targets while keeping a close watch on inflation, high fuel prices, and political and economic uncertainty,”

Emirates flies to 150 destinations across six continents using a fleet of 260 aircraft. The wider group employs 102,379 employees, a year-on-year increase of 20 percent.