DUBAI: Emirates airlines, the largest Middle East carrier, said yesterday it posted a 43 percent surge in profit to $887m last year as fuel costs dropped and passenger numbers rose.
Net profit in 2013 hit Dh3.3bn ($887m) compared to Dh2.3bn ($622m) the previous year, the company announced. Fuel costs dropped by around 4 percent, Emirates chief Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum told reporters, while passenger numbers increased 13 percent.
The carrier’s revenues increased 13 percent to Dh82.6bn ($22.5bn). “It has been a good year,” sheikh Ahmed said.
The government-owned carrier transported a record 44.5 million passengers last year, compared to 39.4 million the previous year.
Emirates Group as a whole, which includes Dnata travel services, saw revenues rise 13.2 percent to Dh87.8bn ($23.9bn), with profit surging 31.6 percent to Dh4.1bn ($1.1bn).
The group will give a dividend of Dh1bn ($280m) to its indebted government “similar to the last financial year,” it said.
“We are moving into the new financial year with confidence and a strong foundation for continued profitability with our strong balance sheet, solid global portfolio and international talent pool,” sheikh Ahmed said in a company’s statement.
He said the carrier employed 52,512 people, 10 percent up from the previous year. He also said the group as a whole invested the equivalent of $6bn last year to upgrade services, including new aircraft and facilities. “Every dirham invested has been carefully considered against short and long-term goals, be it enhancing our capabilities, improving our product, or expanding our business footprint,” he said.
Emirates market in East Asia and Australasia remained its highest revenue contributor, with $6.5bn, 14 percent up from last year. The Dubai-based airline leads Gulf major carriers in expanding their share on the route between the West and Asia and Australasia, triggering repeated complaints from legacy carriers which complain over a tough competition with the state-owned airlines.
Emirates, Qatar Airways and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad have become popular carriers among travellers along these routes, turning their cities into major travel hubs. AFP