Emirates airline’s financial results for the first half of 2021 announced recently has come with good tidings for the UAE’s economy that is witnessing a post-pandemic rebound.
Emirates has been quick to respond to the reopening of key international routes that saw its revenues surging by 81 per cent to Dh24.7 billion, while drastically reducing its losses to Dh5.7 billion from last year’s Dh14.1 billion.
The substantial revenue recovery was the direct outcome from the steady easing of travel restrictions worldwide since summer, and the corresponding increase in demand for air transport as countries moved ahead with their Covid-19 vaccination programmes.
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A closer look at the numbers show the airline’s half-year financial performance is supported by strong growth in both passenger numbers and cargo volumes.
Going beyond the financials, the rapid surge in passenger numbers and cargo volumes point to overall economic recovery taking shape across the UAE.
With the gradual opening of international borders, the travel demand is picking up, boosting the prospects of key non-oil sectors such as tourism, hospitality and international trade that have direct linkages to aviation.
The first half 2021-22 numbers of Emirates may not have fully captured the impact of Expo 2020 on its passenger traffic, cargo volumes and revenue growth. However, indicators from other sectors show a significant revival directly linked to Expo.
Latest statics show Dubai’s hotel industry reported its highest monthly room rates in October since 2018, lifted by the opening of Expo 2020. Hotel occupancy rates in October stood at nearly 82 per cent, with the average daily rate at Dh776.
The Expo, which is expected to bring in 25 million visitors during a 6-month long period, has already reported around 3 million visits since opening up to the public on October 1. Clearly, the surge in visitor numbers are directly correlated to rise in demand for air travel.
While the carrier has some way to go to reach its pre-pandemic peaks in terms of both passenger numbers and cargo volumes, its determination and confidence is the evident in additional equity injection of Dh2.5 billion, rapid network expansion and ramping up of employee numbers.
Emirates has played a key role in the UAE’s economy for a long time through job creation and spending generated by operations, its supply chain, the flows of trade, tourism and investments resulting from its customers.
As the airline marches back to its pre-pandemic levels of business, it is sure to mirror UAE’s economic rebound.