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Sat 6 Dec 2008 01:09 PM

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Emirates bullish in face of financial storm

Dubai-owned airline will not rein in ambitious expansion plans or defer any plane orders.

Dubai-owned airline Emirates will not rein in its ambitious expansion plans in the wake of the global financial crisis, its vice chairman said on Friday.

Maurice Flanagan told newswire Bloomberg that the airline had no intentions of deferring any of its plane orders, which include 55 more of Airbus's A380 superjumbos. Emirates has already taken delivery of three A380s.

The global financial crisis has hit demand for air travel, with global air passenger traffic falling for a second straight month in October, according to industry figures.

Flanagan described this as a "hiccup" and predicted traffic would pick back up within a year.

"Once this hiccup is finished, air travel will resume its previous rates of growth of about five percent," Flanagan was quoted as saying. "The consensus appears to be the worst will be over in a year."

Flanagan said the company would post profit of around $500 million at the end of its current fiscal year in March, compared to $1.4 billion for its previous fiscal year.

He said the fall was "entirely" down to rising fuel costs.

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