, DUBAI, November 12- Emirates Airline posted an 8.2 percent rise in half year profits to $514 million, it said Wednesday, stressing that routes being suspended and a runway closure accounted for lower than expected results.
The Middle East’s largest carrier said revenues in the first six months of the 2014-2015 financial year increased 11 percent to 44.2 billion dirhams ($12 billion), while passenger figures also went up 8.4 percent to 23.3 million.
Emirates said fuel costs remained the largest burden, taking up 38 percent of operating expenses, compared to 39 percent a year earlier. Prices “softened marginally” towards the end of the period.
The airline said it had faced “unprecedented external challenges,” suspending the highest number of routes in a year.
“It is those external threats that we cannot anticipate or directly manage, such as the global economic malaise, the Ebola outbreak, currency fluctuations and regional conflicts that could negate our efforts and plans,” said Emirates chief Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum.
Emirates suspended flights to Guinea in August over fears of the deadly Ebola virus. In September, it stopped flying to Sanaa because of deadly unrest in Yemen.
Sheikh Ahmed said Emirates had minimised the impact of an 80 day runway upgrade at its Dubai International hub that left part of the fleet grounded.
The airline operates the world’s largest fleets of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, and it flies to 146 destinations in 83 countries.