Record profits for Emirates Airlines

The Dubai-based airline hints that flights to Baghdad could begin as early as June.

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By  John Irish Published  April 30, 2003

Emirates Airlines announced today (April 30) that profits for the year ended March 31 grew 94% year on year to reach to Dhs906.7 million (US $247.1m), compared with Dhs468 million (US $127.6m) for the previous year.

Emirates SkyCargo, which accounted for 19.6% of the airline’s revenue, carried 525,188 tonnes of cargo, an increase of over 30% year on year.

The latest announcement comes at a time when many airlines across the world are struggling to cope with the double edge sword of conflict in Iraq as well as the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Asia.

“When we compare our results with those of the world aviation industry in general they seem almost surreal,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates chairman.

The airline claimed that it carried 8.5 million passengers, an increase of 26% from 6.8 million over the last year. Sheikh Ahmed stressed that he hoped to increase this figure substantially in the coming year, after the delivery of new aircraft and the opening of more routes including Shanghai, Moscow and Brisbane.

Sheikh Ahmed is also expected to visit Australia to seek changes to the current restrictions listed in the air services agreement with the UAE in the hope of boosting its Melbourne and Sydney services to twice daily.

Emirates positive figures comes just weeks after Dubai International Airport’s quarterly results which, despite the regional uncertainties, saw a 13% growth on the same period last year.

“In a desperately wobbly year for the world’s airlines, we remained on course for achieving yet another target as we kept moving the goalposts in our quest for Emirates to become a global brand,” said Maurice Flanagan, Emirates’ group managing director.

In a separate development, Sheikh Ahmed indicated that Dubai’s national carrier would be ready to fly to Baghdad as early as June, should the situation in Iraq stabilise and Baghdad airport be operational.

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