australian aviation logo

Emirates Airline more than doubles annual profit

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 10, 2018

Emirates' aircraft at Dubai featuring the Year of Zayed 2018 special livery. (Emirates)
Emirates aircraft at Dubai featuring the Year of Zayed 2018 special livery. (Emirates)

Emirates Airline has posted a return to profit growth and says it is well placed for future success amid an improving global economy and lift in cargo demand.
The Qantas alliance partner’s profit for the 12 months to March 31 2018 more than doubled to 2.8 billion Emirati dirham (A$1 billion), compared with 1.25 billion dirham (A$456 million) in the prior corresponding period.
Revenue at the airline rose 8.5 per cent to $92.3 billion dirham (A$33.7 billion), according to the Emirates Group annual report published on Wednesday in the United Arab Emirates (Emirates Group comprises the Emirates airline operation and air services provider dnata.)
Chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Emirates Group Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said there had been a “gradual recovery of economic activity” in key markets, helping support a strong uptick in cargo activity and, to a lesser extent, demand for air travel.
Despite the improvement, he said business conditions remained tough.
And although the recent rise in oil prices has lifted operating costs, it was also a sign of an expanding economy.
“For Emirates, surging oil prices in the second half of our financial year increased our operating costs,” Al Maktoum said in the company’s annual report.
“But it also stoked the embers of economic recovery which contributed to better seat load factors and a modest climb in yields.”
Total operating costs rose seven per cent, Emirates said, with the airline’s fuel bill increasing by 18 per cent.
Emirates has also benefitted from a closer partnership with regional carrier flydubai that was first announced in July 2017 and involves codesharing on each other’s networks and coordinating schedules to increase passenger choice.
A file image of Emirates and flydubai aircraft at Dubai. (Emirates/flydubai)
Emirates and flydubai aircraft at Dubai. (Emirates/flydubai)

From the end of March Emirates passengers have been able to access 92 additional destinations on the flydubai network. The two airlines are both owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), with Al Maktoum also chairman of flydubai.
“The partnership opened up new city-pair connections that did not exist previously, allowing both Emirates and flydubai to feed traffic into each other’s complementary networks, serving a bigger pool of customers in more cities to bring them immense value and choice, along with strengthening Dubai’s position as a global aviation hub,” Emirates said.
Emirates has also launched new cabin products such as upgraded first and business class seats for its 777 fleet.
The annual report said Emirates carried 58.5 million passengers in fiscal 2018, up 4.3 per cent from 56.1 million in the prior year. Average load factors rose 2.4 percentage points to 77.5 per cent.
During the year, the airline’s fleet rose by nine to 268 aircraft, comprising 102 Airbus A380s, 153 Boeing 777s, and 13 Boeing 777 freighters. There were 17 additions to the fleet and eight were withdrawn.
Emirates has orders for 40 Boeing 787-10s due for delivery from 2022 onwards. It also has put pen to paper for 16 A380s, to arrive from 2020 onwards, along with options for 20 more of the type.
The number of employees at the airline was cut by 3.7 per cent to 62,356.
“While expanding our business and growing revenues, we also tightened our cost discipline,” Al Maktoum said.
“Across the Group, we progressed our initiatives to rebuild and streamline our back office operations with new technology, systems and processes. This year, our reduced recruitment activity, coupled with restructured ways of working gave us gains in productivity, and a slowdown in manpower cost increases.”
It has been reported Emirates has been putting a number of aircraft in storage and reducing its flight schedule due to a some pilot and cabin crew shortages.
An artist's impression of the Boeing 787-10 in Emirates livery. (Emirates)
An artist’s impression of the Boeing 787-10 in Emirates livery. (Emirates)

dnata profit highest ever

Meanwhile, dnata posted a 8.8 per cent improvement in profit to 1.2 billion dirham. Emirates Group said it was the highest profit in the company’s 59-year history.
dnata has four key businesses, UAE airport operations, international airport operations, catering and travel services.
“The strong performance was achieved through organic growth with key contract wins coupled with solid customer retention across its four business divisions, as well as the impact of acquisitions from previous year,” Emirates said.
In April, it was announced dnata had agreed to purchase Qantas’s catering businesses Q Catering and frozen food maker Snap Fresh for an undisclosed sum.
The transaction requires Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) approval.

A file image from a dnata inflight catering facility. (dnata)
A file image from a dnata inflight catering facility. (dnata)

Overall, the Emirates Group reported a 67.2 per cent lift in profit to 4.1 billion dirham. It was the group’s 30th consecutive year of profit.
“Emirates and dnata have always responded to the immediate challenges of each business cycle with agility, while not losing sight of the future,” Al Maktoum said.
“We are ready to meet the opportunities and remain on course for future success.”

Comments (9)

  • Chris


    So much for the armchair experts claiming that the A380 is a financial failure.
    Watch these white tails get whipped up by 2nd and 3rd tier carriers as they come out of lease.

  • mike9


    Apparently the A 380 ‘s in storage as trades have all been snapped up. As slot restrictions grow the A 380 will become more relevant. one slot in Asia 260 – 300 seats or 550 . its a no brainer.

  • Max


    Unfortunately, some of this increase in profitability seems to be based on an overall lowering of quality standards judging by my last Emirates flights (still good, but not as good as they were).

  • Lechuga


    @Chris, 1 airline successfully uses a heap of them. Doesn’t really do it justice. There is not many airlines that would go for such an aircraft. Been proven already.

  • Paul Brisbane


    I fly Emirates to the Middle East for work regularly and there service is far superior to Qantas, I am Gold with Qantas and have a number of trips booked this year however I find there cabin service and punctuality atrocious but there pilots very professional.. Not hard to fix, however A Joyce has to strike a balance to share holder returns and service, it doesn’t matter how good your staff are with poor funding they will look ordinary.

  • Richard James


    When you are simply the Best, What does one Expect !
    “Best Service” Nothing Less

  • Chris


    Lechuga, you have to know how to use them.
    Emirates and Qantas know how to operate the A380 so as it makes profit.
    Many other airlines don’t.
    This is the same with any airframe.
    As an example, nobody got the economies Qantas did out of the B767.
    We did things with it not even Boeing had dreamt of.
    The simple fact remains that airport slots in busy airports around the world are becoming more rare and more costly. Having the capacity to uplift greater numbers of pax per airframe will become more and more important.
    Now that Emirates has placed that most recent order for more A380’s, we should see Airbus working on the A380neo with some sort of market confidence.
    Re-engined, re-wingtipped and delivering even better economies than the current darlings of fuel usage in the B787 and the A350.
    Watch this space – especially of they utilise Rolls Royces new geared Ultrafan technology.

  • Scott


    No one got the efficiencies out of the 767 like Qantas, give me a break look across the pond ANZ pretty much forged ETOPS and opened the area of ops with this airframe. There is a big wide world of aviation out there.

  • Geoff


    Good A380 comments Chris. You are right.
    These are the real Dreamliners (space, comfort, quietness especially) and they will get better with evolutionary improvements. Just wait and see, said the wise man.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.