Tim Clark expects a 'flat' 2017 for Emirates

Emirates president said the year could be ‘slightly worse’ than 2016

Tim Clark admitted that 2016 was “not a good year” for the airline.

Tim Clark admitted that 2016 was “not a good year” for the airline.

Emirates president Tim Clark has said he expects a ‘flat’ 2017 for the airline, as external factors impact on its business.

The Dubai carrier reported a 75 percent drop in net profit in the first half of the 2016-17 financial year, attributed to economic uncertainty and subdued travel demand.

The airline’s net profit was AED786 million ($214 million), down 75 percent from the same period in 2015, when Emirates reported one of its best half-year performances.

When the more recent results were reported in November last year, the airline attributed the drop in profit and revenues to the unfavourable currency environment and increased competition resulting in lower average fares.

In particular, it was impacted by currency devaluation and hard currency shortage in some African countries, as well as dampened travel demand due to ongoing economic uncertainty and security concerns across several markets in its network.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Clark admitted that 2016 was “not a good year” for the airline.

“I think ’17 could be even flatter, slightly worse,” he warned.

Writing in an opinion editorial for Arabian Business on the outlook for 2017, Clark said, “The road ahead, as always, is littered with challenges, but we always look for the silver lining.”

He said while the business fundamentals at Emirates were are “rock solid”, the airline was “not immune to sluggish economies, shifting consumer confidence and protectionist political landscapes”.

“These factors impact our ability to serve customers in markets where we are denied access, and also impact our customers’ demand for travel, and their travel patterns,” he wrote.

“Happily, the global appetite for travel remains resilient. In spite of all that has happened throughout 2016, be it terror attacks, laggard economic growth, or social unrest, people still want to travel. Consumers merely recalibrate their travel plans.”

He said 2017 will see a number of important developments in the UK and US, as well as in Europe where a number of key political milestones will take place in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

“We already see signs of a shift from the mainstream political status quo, which is accompanied by the danger of inward-looking policies that appeal to populist sentiment.

“Any potential shift away from liberalisation would be bad news for consumers, businesses and us. After all, Emirates is a product of multilaterism and liberalisation. Our business model from the beginning has been about connecting the world through the geo-centricity of Dubai, embracing competition, and tapping on global opportunities to offer consumers more travel options and better value for their money,” said Clark.

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Posted by: JRH

Used to be my airline of choice - service experience was excellent and I was prepared to pay the premium over other airlines.

This is no longer the case and thus I haven't used them for a long time. Much better and cheaper options available in the market, something which Mr Clark can't have failed to notice.

He would do well to take action - history is littered with once great companies that failed to adapt to market dynamics.

Posted by: Victor

Love the airline and its service, but right now it's just too pricey. Sadly I can only fly it if my company is kind enough to book me on it out of expediency.

Posted by: Patrick

Emirates is over rated and way too expansive, our company stopped using Emirates and I personally refrain from travelling on EK due to extremely high pricing, Emirates Airlines must review its pricing strategy and reduce airfare to compete again..

Posted by: Anwar Ali

There was a time when Emirates was competitive but for the last 5 years it has been the most expensive in terms of economy class fares. It worked well when travel industry was buoyant. Once it hit the plateau, reality emerges.

Emirates will have to consider going back to reality !!!!

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