Dubai airline Emirates has reported a 124 per cent increase in net profit for its 2017-2018 fiscal year after its income tumbled 12 months ago.
The carrier made a net profit of $762m during in comparison to $354m in 2016-2017, when profit declined 82 per cent following harsher US travel restrictions and pressure on fares.
Revenue reached $25.2bn from $23.16bn previously.
The airline said its results came despite of “political challenge impacting traveller demand and fare adjustments due to a highly competitive business environment”
Operating costs also increased 7 per cent on the previous year after the average price of jet fuel rose 15 per cent.
The carrier’s fuel bill rose 18 per cent as a result to $6.7bn after a 3 per cent capacity increase.
However, it did benefit from the decline of the US against currencies in key markets for the first time in years, with an $180m positive impact on the airline’s bottom line.
In addition the airline saved money by cutting 4 per cent of its workforce with headcount falling to 62,356.
“Business conditions in 2017-18, while improved, remained tough. We saw ongoing political instability, currency volatility and devaluations in Africa, rising oil prices which drove our costs up, and downward pressure on margins from relentless competition,” said Emirates Group chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
“On the positive side, we benefitted from a healthy recovery in the global air cargo industry, as well as the relative strengthening of key currencies against the US dollar.”
In total, Emirates Airline carried 4 per cent more passengers in 2017-2018 to 58.5 million and increased its passenger seat factor to 77.5 per cent from 75.1 per cent.
The carrier said it closed the year with $5.6bn of cash assets after raising $4.9bn throughout the year including a $600m.
Across the wider Emirates Group, which includes subsidiaries and air services firm Dnata, profit rose 67 per cent to $1.1bn and revenue increased 8 per cent to $27.9bn.
The group declared a dividend of $545m to shareholder Investment Corporation of Dubai, while an Emirates source said the company plans to pay a profit share of five week’s salary to workers.
Total headcount also reduced 2 per cent to 103,363.
“Looking forward to this year, its clear that the early arrival of Ramadan will temper back performance a little for the first half of the year when Emirates next reports its earnings in November,” said Saj Ahmad, chief anaylst at StrategicAero Research.
“But this is only a minor aberration because this leaves Emirates with a largely uninterrupted summer schedule where tourism and transit traffic through Dubai will see numbers rise significantly.”
On Tuesday, Emirates said it would begin flights from Dubai to the Scottish capital Edinburgh on the same day Abu Dhabi rival Etihad suspends its service.