- REUTERS/Christian Charisius
Emirates reported $1.93 billion in net profits from airline operations on Tuesday – the highest in company history.
That’s a colossal 56% increase in profits over the previous year for the Dubai-based carrier, and translates to a profit margin of 8.4%.
Emirates cites a 31.2% decrease in fuel costs as the main driver for its increased profitability in the fiscal year that ended on March 31.
As a strictly international long-haul carrier, Emirates is particularly sensitive to the price of fuel as it tends to operate larger and thirstier wide-body aircraft.
According to the airline, fuel accounted for 25.7% of its total operating costs for the past year.
The greater Emirates Group, which includes airport-services company Dnata, reported a record $2.2 billion in operating profits. According to the company, this marks its 28th straight year of profitability.
As part of Dubai’s global outreach strategy, the company’s ability to generate any profit is a windfall for the emirate’s government.
“Emirates and Dnata delivered record profits, solid business results, and continued to grow throughout 2015-16,” Emirates Group chairman H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement.
“Against an unfavorable currency situation which eroded our revenues and profits, an uncertain global economic environment dogged by weak consumer and investor sentiment, as well as ongoing socio-political instability in many regions around the world, the Group’s performance is testament to the success of our business model and strategies.”
However, Sheikh Ahmed cautioned that the company’s growth could be affected by falling consumer confidence, governmental protectionism, and a strong US dollar.
“Looking at the year ahead, we expect that the low oil prices will continue to be a double-edged sword – a boon for our operating costs, but a bane for global business and consumer confidence. The strong US dollar against major currencies will remain a challenge, as will the looming threat of protectionism in some countries,” the company chairman said.
Last month, fellow UAE-based airline Etihad reported annual profits of $103 million on $9 billion of total revenue.
The rapid growth of Emirates and its fellow Middle Eastern carriers Etihad and Qatar have come under criticism from American, United, and Delta Air Lines. The US3 allege that the ME3’s stellar performance and service are unfairly augmented by as much as $42 billion in subsidies over the past 10 years. The ME3 have denied these allegations.
“At the end of the day. We have a shareholder who placed equity in the airline who gave us loans to be repaid. That’s what people do when they invest in the business,” Etihad CEO James Hogan told Business Insider last year.
“We’ve done nothing improper. We’ve created a great airline, with great service, created value, and the accounts are audited by one of the top accounting firms in the world.”