Dubai: Emirates airline sees full-year revenue growing by 18 per cent to 20 per cent as it flies more passengers, but high fuel costs will continue to weigh on the bottom line, according to the top executive at the world’s largest carrier by international traffic.
Dubai’s flag carrier, which booked a revenue of Dh62.3 billion ($17 billion) last year, expects to carry 37 million passengers in the 2012/2013 financial year ending March 31, Tim Clark, the airline’s president, said, according to a company spokesperson. Emirates carried 34 million passengers on its network in the year before period.
Clark, speaking to reporters at the official opening of a dedicated concourse in Dubai for the Airbus A380 superjumbos, said that higher oil prices mean that the fuel bill will consume about 40 per cent of the company’s revenues this year.
“The fuel bill saw an increase of $8 billion (Dh28 billion) in 2012 due to the increase in oil prices,” Clark said. “The surcharge in fuel prices remains the primary reason that weighs heavily on EK and any airliner’s profits,” he added.
Emirates had posted a 72 per cent drop in full-year 2011/2012 net profit thanks to a soaring fuel bill. But its profits more than doubled in the first half of this year on continued passenger growth and a slight fall in fuel costs.
Emirates expects a revamped version of Boeing’s 777 airliner to be available to customers in six to nine months, the carrier’s president said, adding technical issues affecting Dreamliner jets will not affect progress.
“The engagement on 777X continues. I believe it will be launched and we’ll see that in six to nine months,” Tim Clark told reporters in Dubai on Sunday.
Boeing appears to be at least a year away from offering a new version of the 777, Reuters reported in November, quoting people familiar with talks between the aircraft maker and its customers.
Emirates, Boeing’s biggest customer, has said it will need to replace its old 777s from 2017, which is prompting the push for a new version.
The airline has been pressing for the 777X to come out sooner rather than later. The 777 is one of the most successful jets of all time in terms of sales, and airlines are eager for a version that can go farther on less fuel with more passengers.
Etihad tie up not worrying
Clark also said he was not worried about a potential tie-up between Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and India’s Jet Airways . Etihad is close to taking a stake in India’s Jet, the Abu Dhabi airline said last week after reporting a tripling in profits for last year.
“I am more threatened by the fact that we have not got more seats. They are already full and we need some more,” he said.
Emirates expects revenue for the fiscal year ending 2012-2013 to grow between 18 per cent to 20 per cent and expects profits to rise over the previous year, he said, without giving details.
“There will be an increase in net earnings but that will not be without difficulties,” he said, adding that revenue would grow at an annual rate of 18 to 20 per cent as it has almost every year for the airline.