Emirates Airline profits nearly triple in half-year

The latest result is a change of fortune for the Dubai carrier. (Reuters)
Updated 08 November 2019

Emirates Airline profits nearly triple in half-year

  • The airline attributed the soaring profits to a sharp drop in the cost of fuel which accounts for almost a third of company spending

DUBAI: Emirates Airline, the largest carrier in the Middle East, has reported a 282-percent rise in half-year net profits, mainly thanks to a drop in operating costs and fuel prices.

The result was a change of fortunes for the Dubai carrier, which for the full-year to the end of March took a heavy hit from high oil prices and currency fluctuations.

The carrier said it posted a net profit of $235 million in the first six months of the current financial year compared to just $62 million in the same period last year.

The airline attributed the soaring profits to a sharp drop in the cost of fuel which accounts for almost a third of company spending.

An 8 percent drop in operating costs and a rise in the number of passengers per flight also contributed to the healthy results.

“The lower fuel cost was a welcome respite as we saw our fuel bill drop by AED 2 billion ($545 million) compared to the same period last year,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, said in a statement.

“However, unfavorable currency movements wiped off approximately AED 1.2 billion ($327 million) from our profits,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

On average, fuel costs were 13 percent lower compared to the same period last year, the airline said.  In the last full year, Emirates’ net profit dived 69 percent to just $237 million due to high oil prices and currency fluctuations.

“The global outlook is difficult to predict, but we expect the airline and travel industry to continue facing headwinds over the next six months,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

The airline said its revenue in the April to September period dropped 3 percent to $12.9 billion compared to $13.3 billion in the same period last year. Emirates carried 29.6 million passengers in the six-month period.


Lebanon removes banking secrecy rules to fight corruption

Updated 28 May 2020

Lebanon removes banking secrecy rules to fight corruption

  • The move opens the way for investigations into bank accounts of current and former officials such as Cabinet ministers

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s parliament approved on Thursday a law to remove decades-old banking secrecy rules in order to better fight rampant corruption that has pushed the country to the edge of economic collapse.
The move opens the way for investigations into bank accounts of current and former officials such as Cabinet ministers, legislators and civil servants, state-run National News Agency reported.
The restoration of stolen public money in the corruption-plagued nation has been a key demand of protesters who have been demonstrating since mid-October against Lebanon’s ruling elite, which they blame for widespread corruption and mismanagement.
The approval of the law came two months after the Cabinet approved a draft resolution to abolish the country’s banking secrecy laws, which have turned tiny Lebanon into the region’s Switzerland, attracting clients from around the Arab world who prized the anonymity its banks offered.
The new law gives powers to National Anti-corruption Commission and a Special Investigative Committee at the central bank to investigate bank account of officials, the report said.
For Thursday’s session, Lebanese lawmakers convened inside a Beirut theater so that they could observe social distancing measures imposed during the pandemic. Dozens of anti-government demonstrators briefly clashed with riot police outside as legislators met.
As lawmakers in face masks arrived at the theater, known as the UNESCO palace, paramedics sprayed them with disinfectant before they entered, one at a time.
Lebanon has been facing its worst economic crisis in decades, with unemployment figures soaring and the local currency losing more than half of its value against the dollar.
After the banking secrecy measure was passed, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri suspended the session until later in the afternoon when the legislators were to discuss a draft general amnesty law.
The amnesty issue has deeply divided parliamentary blocs, with Christian groups calling for pardoning Lebanese who fled to Israel after it ended its occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000, while former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and others want the release of hundreds of Islamists held as terror suspects.
Lebanon and Israel are at a state of war and some Lebanese who fled to Israel now hold Israeli citizenship. Scores of protesters demonstrated in Beirut and southern Lebanon on Thursday against pardoning those living in Israel.