Gulf aviation giant Emirates on Sunday, posted 32nd consecutive year of profit of AED1.7 billion (US$ 456 million) for the financial year ended March 31st, down 28 per cent from last year.
This sudden Fall, according to the state-owned flag carrier airline based in Garhoud, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was attributed to a slow in operations during a runway closure at Dubai International during the first quarter, and the raging impact of flight and travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chief executive of Emirates Group,said the airline had performed strongly in the first 11 months of the fiscal year .
“However, from mid-February things changed rapidly as the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world, causing a sudden and tremendous drop in demand for international air travel as countries closed their borders and imposed stringent travel restrictions.” He said in a statement.
He furthered: “Even without a pandemic, our industry has always been vulnerable to a multitude of external factors. In 2019-20, the further strengthening of the US dollar against major currencies eroded our profits to the tune of AED1 billion, global airfreight demand remained soft for most of the year, and competition intensified in our key markets.”
At the 2019 Dubai Air Show in November, The gulf giant airline placed a US$ 16 billion order for 50 A350 XWBs, and a US$ 8.8 billion order for 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. With first deliveries expected in 2023, these new aircraft is expected to add its current fleet mix, and provide deployment flexibility within its long-haul hub model.
Al Maktoum concluded: “We expect it will take 18 months at least, before travel demand returns to a semblance of normality.
“In the meantime, we are actively engaging with regulators and relevant stakeholders, as they work to define standards to ensure the health and safety of travellers and operators in a post-pandemic world.
“Emirates and dnata stand to reactivate our operations to serve our customers, as soon as circumstances allow.”