Emirates six-month losses drop by half from year earlier

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DUBAI: Emirates said it was on the path to recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic on Wednesday as six-month losses dropped by more than a half from a year earlier.

The Dubai-based carrier posted an April-September loss of $1.6 billion, compared with $3.4billion during the same period in 2020.

“Across the group, we saw operations and demand pick up as countries started to ease travel restrictions,” Chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement. “This momentum accelerated over the summer and continues to grow steadily into the winter season and beyond.”

Revenue was up 86 per cent year-on-year and passenger numbers rose 319 per cent to 6.1 million, Emirates said, adding that cargo volumes had recovered to 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

The airline also received a $681 million capital injection from its owner, the Dubai government, following a $3.1 billion payment announced earlier.

Coronavirus crisis

In June, Emirates announced its first annual loss in more than three decades after the coronavirus crisis forced it to suspend operations and slash staff last year. “While there’s still some way to go before we restore our operations to pre-pandemic levels and return to profitability, we are well on the recovery path,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

Like other major carriers, Emirates began announcing heavy layoffs when its fleet of A380 superjumbos and Boeing 777s was grounded last year.

On Wednesday, it said the overall group workforce has shrunk again by 2 per cent to 73,571, but a recruitment drive is underway prioritising employees who were furloughed or made redundant.

By the end of September, Emirates was operating passenger and cargo flights to 139 airports, using its entire fleet of Boeing 777s and 37 Airbus A380s. It launched services to Miami, a new destination, in July.

“The strong revenue recovery reflects quick return of passenger demand wherever flight and travel restrictions were eased around the world,” the Emirates statement said.

Operating costs rose 22 per cent against overall capacity growth of 66 per cent, with fuel costs more than doubling, partly because of higher oil prices.