DUBAI, Nov 7- Dubai-based airline Emirates on Friday said that first half profit more than doubled, boosted by passenger traffic gains and cost cutting.
The largest Arab airline said that net profit rose 165 percent $205 million (Sh15.375 billion), for the first six months ending 30th September 2009 compared to $77 million (Sh5.775 billion) in the corresponding period in 2008.
During the period under review the airline carried over 13 million passengers and over 700,000 tonnes of cargo, and in the process also helped other businesses operating at Dubai International Airport achieve growth in revenue and traffic.
In the first half of its financial year 2009-10, Emirates posted strong business growth, both in capacity and traffic carried compared to 2008.
Capacity grew by 22 percent whilst passenger traffic carried was up 21 percent with Passenger Seat Factor sustained at a high level, averaging 77.5 percent, slightly down compared to 78.3 percent for last year.
The volume of cargo uplifted was in line with last year.
Speaking while releasing the results, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates airline and Group said the airline remained focused on its long-term strategy despite the global economic slowdown.
“Unlike others in the industry, Emirates did not cut back on its product, service or people. Instead, we invested in these areas and looked to our people to develop ever more innovative ways to manage costs, improve efficiencies, reallocate resources, and drive alternative strategies for the business.”
Total revenue dropped 13.5 percent to $5.4 billion (Sh405 billion) compared with $6.2 billion (Sh465 billion) recorded last year, largely reflecting lower passenger and cargo yields. Total expenditure was also down 15.8 percent at $5.2 billion (Sh390 billion) which was attributed to cost cutting measures and a drop in global fuel prices.
“While some say the green shoots of economy recovery are sprouting, we expect it will take at least another year or two, before demand for air transport and travel services starts picking up again. In the meantime, Emirates is well-placed to weather the rest of the storm. We will continue to chart our course with long-term goals in mind while staying flexible to maximize opportunities and mitigate risks,” Sheikh Ahmed said
Emirates’ cash position was at $1.8 billion compared to $2.0 billion six months earlier largely attributed to funding a significant capital expenditure programme that included pre-delivery payments for new aircraft on order, building projects in Dubai, and an upgrade of the interiors of some of the existing fleet.
During the first half, Emirates successfully raised aircraft financing of $0.9 billion.
Since April 2009, Emirates has launched passenger services to two new destinations, Durban and Luanda, expanding its global network which now spans 101 cities on six continents.
Emirates\’ current fleet size is 139 aircraft. Since the beginning of its current financial year, the airline has received delivery of eight new wide body aircraft, with another 10 new jets scheduled to be delivered before the end of the financial year, 31 March 2010.