The airline posted a loss of 14.8 billion riyals in the year-ago period. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Middle East state-owned carrier Qatar Airways on Thursday reported a full-year profit, reversing a trend of annual losses since 2018 driven by a regional airspace ban and the pandemic.

The airline, which only operates international flights, said it made a profit of 5.6 billion riyal ($1.5 billion) in the year to March 31, compared to a year-ago loss of 14.8 billion riyals.

It said revenue climbed 78 per cent to 52.3 billion riyal, while passenger traffic more than tripled to 18.5 million.

Qatar Airways has reported losses since its 2017/18 financial year.

The airline is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Airbus over flaws to the protective skin of A350 wide-body jets it has ordered from the European planemaker.

Qatar Airways is suing Airbus in a British court for $1 billion in damages after grounding around two dozen of its A350s experiencing the flaws, which it says raise safety concerns - something Airbus and European regulators deny.

CEO Akbar Al Baker said on Thursday the airline continued to face significant challenges to its fleet capacity and network expansion plans, citing “unforeseen circumstances”. He said Qatar Airways would have expanded its network faster which would have helped business fundamentals to a greater degree had that additional capacity been available.