By Ed Attwood
Fuel and strong US dollar fail to dampen 2015/16 results for Dubai-based carrier
Emirates Airline has posted record profits for the 2015/16 financial year, with earnings up by 56 percent to $1.6 billion.
The world’s largest international carrier saw its passenger numbers rise by 8 percent to 51.9 million over the same period, while capacity increased by 11 percent.
In a series of tweets, the airline said that fuel had been its biggest expense over the past year, at $5.4 billion and 26 percent of operating costs, while the strong US dollar had eroded its revenues by $1.6 billion, and its profits by $1.1 billion.
Revenues decreased by 4 percent to $23.2 billion over the year.
The airline said it had cut operating costs by 8 percent over the previous year, helped by the lower price of jet fuel.
Emirates Group, which includes dnata and a number of other brands mainly related to the travel and tourism industry, saw profits rise by 50 percent to $2.2 billion, on revenues of $25.3 billion.
Group revenues declined by 3 percent to $25.3 billion.
"Against an unfavourable currency situation which eroded our revenues and profits, an uncertain global economic environment dogged by weak consumer and investor sentiment, as well as ongoing socio-political instability in many regions around the world, the Group’s performance is testament to the success of our business model and strategies,” said Emirates chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, in a press statement.
“Looking at the year ahead, we expect that the low oil prices will continue to be a double-edged sword – a boon for our operating costs, but a bane for global business and consumer confidence. The strong US dollar against major currencies will remain a challenge, as will the looming threat of protectionism in some countries."
Emirates Group said it had paid a dividend of $681 million to its owner, Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD).
The number of employees at the group rose by 13 percent to reach over 95,000.