Emirates airline CEO and chairman said currency and fuel were the big challenges for the airline
Dubai-based airline Emirates is investing in technological advances to help it try and reduce costs, its chairman said in an interview this week.
In November, the carrier reported in its latest half-year results that while revenue was up 10 percent to AED 48.9 billion ($13.3 billion), profits had declined 86 percent to AED226 million ($62 million).
In an interview with MEED, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline & Group, said oil and currency fluctuations were to blame for the drop in profitability but that investments in technology would help it to reduce costs in the long-term.
“Fuel prices are always a big factor in the aviation industry,” he was quoted as saying. “Currency is also a major factor in the profitability of airlines, or fuel and currency.”
The investments in technology are not just limited to the airline but in Dubai’s entire aviation sector, including its airports, he said.
“We are pushing technology and that technology will have to process more people, either coming in or out or in transit. The focus on technology will save a lot of costs in the future,” he said.
“Cost is very important, regardless of what you’re doing and how successful you are,” he added. “You always have to look at your costs because there is always somebody else who will come along and try to offer that service as well as you are doing for much lower cost. Those airlines will be successful.”
Investments in Dubai’s airline and airports has certainly paid off. Dubai International (DXB) in January reported that it has retained its position as the world’s busiest airport for international customer numbers for the fifth consecutive year with annual traffic for 2018 surpassing 89.1 million.
Passenger traffic at Dubai totalled 89,149,387 in 2018, a one percent increase on 2017, and ahead of London’s Heathrow, which reached the 80 million in the past 12 months.