Emirates continues on its record-setting ways, with new highs on profit and revenues. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Emirates Group posted record profits of Dh18.7 billion for its financial year that ended March 31, boosted by unprecedented travel demand and strong capacity operations across its network. The Dubai aviation giant’s revenues for the period also broke records at Dh137.3 billion.

The Group said, on Monday, it will be handing out Dh4 billion to its owner, Investment Corporation of Dubai. “The Group’s excellent financial standing today places us in a strong position for future growth and success,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airlines and Group. “It enables us to invest to deliver even better products, services, and more value to our customers and stakeholders,” he said.

“We are reaping the benefit of years of non-stop investments in our products and services, in building strong partnerships, and in the capabilities of our talented people,” Sheikh Ahmed explained.

Emirates Group’s total workforce grew by 10 per cent to 112,406 employees, its largest size ever, as Emirates and dnata continued recruitment activity globally.

How the numbers stack up for Emirates:

  1. The airline operations alone fetched profits of Dh17.2 billion, up 63 per cent from the Dh10.6 billion last year.
  2. The revenue rose 13 per cent to Dh121.2 billion with the airline getting more out of the increased capacity.
  3. The airline capacity increased 20 per cent to 57.7 billion ATKMs, and fast ‘closing gap to pre-pandemic levels’.

Clearing the pre-pandemic losses - and more

The combined Emirates Group profits for the last two years now total Dh29.6 billion, well clear of the pandemic phase losses of Dh25.9 billion during 2020-22.

“We saw high demand for air transport and travel-related services around the world, and because we were able to move quickly to deliver what customers want, we achieved tremendous results,” explained the airline chief.

“Emirates and dnata have forged successful business models leveraging Dubai’s unique advantages, generating enormous value for Dubai and the communities they serve around the world,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

Emirates Airlines closed the financial year with its highest-ever level of cash assets at Dh 42.9 billion, 15 per cent higher than on March 31, 2023.

Kitted out for upcoming expansion

“We enter our 2024-25 financial year on strong foundations for continued growth,” said Sheikh Ahmed.

Emirates will receive the delivery of 10 new A350 aircraft in 2024-25. “This will add to ‘our fleet mix and support the next phase of its network growth,” he added.

At the end of March, the total fleet count was 260 units, with an average fleet age of 10.1 years.

The airline’s order book now stands at 310 aircraft after it announced orders worth $58 billion combined for 110 additional units of Boeing 777s, 787s, and Airbus A350s at the 2023 Dubai Airshow. These new-generation widebody aircraft will replace older jets and support fleet growth.

“dnata will continue leveraging synergies and scaling across its business divisions to grow its footprint and capabilities. In tandem, we are investing resources to minimise our environmental impact, develop our people, and look after our customers and the communities we serve.”

Earlier this month, Emirates announced names of the first nine destinations to join its A350 network. Image Credit: Emirates

Network expansion

Providing customers with more connection options, Emirates restarted services to Tokyo Haneda, added capacity to 29 destinations, and launched new daily flights to Montréal, Canada.

Emirates also inked codeshare and interline agreements with 11 new airline partners, further extending its network’s reach. By March 31, the Emirates network comprised 151 destinations across six continents, including ten cities served by its freighter fleet only.

Emirates brought its flagship A380 and popular Premium Economy product to even more cities this year, as 16 more aircraft rolled out of its US$ 2 billion cabin retrofit programme, fully refurbished with the airline’s latest products. The Emirates A380 served 49 destinations, and the Premium Economy service was extended to 15 cities.

Passenger growth

The airline carried a whopping 51.9 million passengers (up 19 per cent) in 2023-24, with seat capacity up by 21 per cent. Emirates reported a Passenger Seat Factor of 79.9 per cent, rising from 79.5 per cent last year. Passenger yield declined 2 per cent to 36.6 files (10.0 US cents) per Revenue Passenger Kilometre (RPKM) due to a change in cabin and route mix, fares, and currency.

How dnata fared

  1. Profit came to Dh1.4 billion, ‘significantly improved’ upon the Dh331 million last year.
  2. Revenue shot up 29 per cent to a new peak of Dh19.2 billion, ‘reflecting increased customer flight activity and travel demand across its UAE and worldwide business divisions’.

"The business outlook is positive, and we expect customer demand for air transport and travel to remain strong," said Sheikh Ahmed. "As always, we will keep a close watch on costs and external factors such as oil prices, currency fluctuations, and volatile environments caused by socio-political changes. Our business model has been tested before, and I am confident in our resilience and ability to respond quickly to opportunities and challenges.

"The Dubai government has announced plans to start the next phase of expansion at Al Maktoum International Airport, which will eventually be the new hub for Emirates and dnata’s operations. This Dh128 billion investment will significantly expand and enhance Dubai’s aviation and logistics infrastructure, supporting the city’s growth, and Emirates’ and dnata’s growth."

The cargo division expects delivery of its five additional Boeing 777Fs on order from mid-2024. Image Credit: Emirates

Cargo growth

Emirates SkyCargo carried 2.2 million tonnes of goods worldwide in 2023-24, up 18 per cent from the previous year. The cargo division reported a solid revenue of Dh 13.6 billion, contributing 11 per cent to the airline’s total revenue. At the end of 2023-24, Emirates’ SkyCargo’s total freighter fleet stood at 11 Boeing 777Fs. The cargo division expects delivery of its five additional Boeing 777Fs on order from mid-2024.

Emirates Flight Catering

Emirates Flight Catering hit record revenues of Dh970 million from its external customers, driven by traffic growth at Dubai’s airports. It supplied 76.9 million meals to airline customers, 19 per cent more than the previous year.

Emirates’ hotels

Emirates’ hotel portfolio revenue decreased by 2 percent to Dh660 million last year, reflecting the temporary closure of its Wolgan Valley resort in Australia.