Emirates Group books record $5.1 bn annual profit

Emirates Group books record $5.1 bn annual profit
Emirates Air (Stock photo)

By AFP/Sahar Al Attar

Dubai's Emirates Group announced annual profits of $5.1 billion on Monday, a rise of 71 percent, as the airline company set a new record for the second year in a row.


Citing strong customer demand, it said group profits for the past two years hit $8.1 billion, surpassing the losses seen during pandemic-hit 2020-2022.


"The Emirates Group has once again raised the bar to deliver a new record performance," chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement.


State-owned Emirates Group, operator of the world's largest long-haul carrier, announced a record $3.0 billion in profits last year as it returned to the black after the Covid pandemic.


Emirates has now erased the $1.1 billion loss in 2021-2022 and the heavy $5.5 billion deficit a year earlier, when it was forced to ground its fleet and lay off staff.


"The Group's excellent financial standing today places us in a strong position for future growth and success. It enables us to invest to deliver even better products, services, and more value to our customers and stakeholders," Sheikh Ahmed said.


The airline business alone returned record profits of $4.7 billion, up 63 percent. Emirates Group also encompasses airport services company Dnata, whose profits more than quadrupled to $400 million.


The Emirates Group workforce grew 10 percent to a record 112,406 employees. The airline will receive 10 new Airbus A350s from August but remains plagued by delays to Boeing's 777X, with 205 on order.


'Volatile environments'

The positive financial results come despite a period of turmoil in the region since the Israel-Hamas war started in October, setting off a wave of political tensions.


"The business outlook is positive, and we expect customer demand for air transport and travel to remain strong in the coming months," said Sheikh Ahmed, adding that possible hazards included "volatile environments caused by socio-political changes".


The air travel upswing has prompted Dubai to expand the Al Maktoum International Airport, which has received a relatively small share of the Gulf financial hub's air traffic since 2010.


Last month, the wealthy emirate announced that work had begun on a new terminal at Al Maktoum on Dubai's outskirts, which the Gulf emirate's ruler said will become "the world's largest" at a cost of almost $35 billion.


Once fully operational, the airport will "handle a passenger capacity of 260 million annually", the government said in a statement.


The first phase of the project is expected to be ready within 10 years, with a capacity to accommodate 150 million passengers annually.


Authorities want it to replace Dubai International Airport, which can handle up to 120 million passengers annually and whose city-centre location prevents expansion.