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November 12, 2012 8:54 am
Profit doubled at Dubai’s Emirates airline as strong passenger growth made up for rising fuel bills in the six months to the end of September.
The airline’s net profits, which rose to Dh1.7bn ($464m) from Dh836m, led strong results for the Emirates Group – which also includes airport services firm Dnata – where group profits rose 68 per cent in the first half of its 2012-13 financial year.
Group revenues in the first six months of financial year 2012-13 rose to Dh32.8bn, surpassing the $10bn mark for the first time in the government-owned airline’s history.
The airline’s strength has been central to indebted Dubai’s trade-and tourism-led economic recovery.
Emirates’ rapid expansion has also ruffled its competitors. In September, it signed a 10-year partnership with Qantas that will move the Australian carrier’s Asian stopover point from Singapore to Dubai.
“Emirates remained focused on its growth and global expansion despite ongoing fluctuating exchange rates and ever lingering high fuel prices,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the group’s chairman, said in a statement. “We have continued to invest in the infrastructure of both Emirates and Dnata and it continues to pay off.”
Emirates said airline capacity and traffic rose over the past six months, with available seat kilometres growing 17.3 per cent and the passenger seat factor rising one percentage point to 80 per cent over the same period last year.
The airline carried 18.7m passengers since April 1, up 15.4 per cent on the same period last year. Cargo volume rose 16 per cent.
Fuel prices accounted for 39 per cent of the airline’s costs, down 2 percentage points from last year.
The fast-growing airline received 13 new wide-bodied aircraft, including two A380s and 10 Boeing 777s, with more than 15 new aircraft scheduled for delivery before the end of March.
Staff numbers rose 8 per cent to 68,000 as Emirates continued to expand its network with the opening since March of five new destinations, including Washington and Erbil, Iraq.
Since September last year, Emirates – which has the world’s largest fleet of A380s and 777s – has opened 15 new routes. Further routes expected to launch during the remainder of the financial year include Adelaide, Australia, and Phuket, Thailand.
The group’s cash position reduced to Dh15.2bn from Dh17.6bn at the end of March 2012 after paying back a Dh2bn Islamic bond in June.
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