Fri. Dec 3rd, 2021

Emirates recovered its losses as demand for travel returned with Gulf airline revenues rising 86 percent.

The state-owned airline was hit with a half-year loss of $ 1.6 billion in its 2021-2022 financial year compared to a loss of $ 3.8 billion in the previous period.

The Dubai-based airline carried 6.1 million passengers between April and the end of September this year, an increase of 319 percent over the same period in 2020-2021.

“We have seen operations and demand increase as countries have begun to ease travel restrictions,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the airline’s chairman and chief executive. “This momentum has accelerated over the summer and is growing steadily during the winter season and beyond.”

The airline’s home base, Dubai, is also recovering from last year’s recession as tourism and business activity increase.

The city, which has a symbiotic relationship with its flagship carrier, is hosting the delayed Expo 2020 world show and saw an influx of tourists and residents thanks to the successful handling of the pandemic, the implementation of restrictions to combat infections while keeping the economy as open as possible.

The airline said it had restarted services or increased the frequency to destinations as travel restrictions were lifted. In July, it introduced services to Miami, a new destination. By the end of the period, Emirates had served 139 airports, with all of its Boeing 777s and about a third of its A380 superjumbo.

The group, which includes freight and land handling, reported a $ 1.6 billion loss with revenues rising 81 percent as countries progressed with vaccination programs.

It returned to operating profitability with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $ 1.5 billion, a “dramatic reversal” from a negative $ 12m ebitda during the same period last year.

The group relied on cash reserves, loans and a $ 681 million share injection from its owner, Dubai’s state-owned holding company. In the financial year 2020-2021, the airline $ 3.1 billion received in state support. It also implemented a swinging layoff program that reduced its employee base by 31 percent to about 75,000.

In the first half of this financial year, the group’s staff levels dropped marginally by 2 percent to about 74,000.

As the demand for travel increases, Emirates and Dnata, the land management arm, have launched recruitment actions that prioritize the reappointment of employees who have been placed on leave or made redundant.

Freight operations remained strong, the airline said, with a 39 percent increase that brought the business back to 90 percent of the volumes achieved in 2019 before the coronavirus crisis.

“While there is still some way to go before we recover our operations to pre-pandemic levels and return to profitability, we are well on the road to recovery with healthy income and a solid cash balance,” said Sheikh Ahmed.

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