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Emirates airline posts 82.5 pct drop in 2016-17 profit

An Emirates Airlines Airbus A380-800, with Tail Number A6-EEV, lands at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California. (REUTERS)
DUBAI: Emirates, the Middle East’s largest airline, reported a decline in annual profit on Thursday for the first time in five years.
The Dubai-based airline saw net profit fall 82 percent to 1.3 billion dirhams ($354 million) as passenger yield — a measure of how much money an airline makes per passenger per kilometer flown — followed a slowdown in demand for travel.
It is the first time the airline has reported a decline in annual profit since the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012.
“We remain optimistic for the future of our industry, although we expect the year ahead to remain challenging with hyper competition squeezing airline yields, and volatility in many markets impacting travel flows and demand,” Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said.
The airline’s revenue was flat at 85.1 billion dirhams. Emirates said the “relentless rise” of the dollar in its key market cost the airline 2.1 billion dirhams in revenue.
Its fuel bill increased 6 percent on the year to 21 billion dirhams and made up 25 percent of its operating costs compared with 26 percent last year.
The airline increased its total seat capacity by 10 percent during the year.
Despite a series of what it called “destabilising events,” including Britain voting to leave the European Union and a number of restrictions on travel from the Middle East by US President Donald Trump, Emirates recorded an 8 percent rise in passengers carried to 56.1 million. Its load factor — or number of seats filled — fell 1.4 percentage points to 75.1 percent.
The world’s biggest customer of the Airbus A380 superjumbo said profit for the wider Emirates Group, which includes airport and travel services arm Dnata, fell 70 percent to 2.5 billion dirhams.
Emirates said it would not pay a dividend to Investment Corporation of Dubai, the state investment vehicle which owns the airline and stakes in other Dubai companies. It paid 2.6 billion dirhams for the previous year.

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