Emirates airline profits tumbled by 82% year-on-year to $340 million as its faced a $572 million hit in revenue from the “relentless rise” of the US dollar in most of its key markets.
The plunge in profits came despite the Dubai-based airline achieving record year-on-year passenger carryings up 8% to 56.1 million in the 2016-17 financial year.
The UAE-based group was buoyed by the best performance by travel and aviation services arm dnata in its 58 years of operation with a profit of $330 million.
However, dnata’s travel services division, which includes a series of UK travel companies, saw revenue decline by 5% to $854 million.
This came as he underlying total transaction value of travel services sold fell by 9% to $2.9 billion.
“These trends are the reflection of lower travel demand mainly from corporates and government entities in the Gulf region as well as the decline in value of the British pound against the US dollar after the Brexit decision,” the company said.
The overall Emirates Group – which encompasses more than 80 subsidiaries and companies – still managed to record its 29th consecutive year of profit of $670 million in the 2016-17 financial year.
Group chairman and chief executive, Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said: “Emirates and dnata have continued to deliver profits and grow the business, despite 2016-17 having been one of our most challenging years to date.
“Over the years, we have invested to build our business capabilities and brand reputation.
“We now reap the benefits as these strong foundations have helped us to weather the destabilising events which have impacted travel demand during the year – from the Brexit vote to Europe’s immigration challenges and terror attacks, from the new policies impacting air travel into the US, to currency devaluation and funds repatriation issues in parts of Africa, and the continued knock-on effect of a sluggish oil and gas industry on business confidence and travel demand.”
He added: “We remain optimistic for the future of our industry, although we expect the year ahead to remain challenging with hyper competition squeezing airline yields, and volatility in many markets impacting travel flows and demand.
“Emirates and dnata will stay attuned to the events and trends that impact our business, so that we can respond quickly to opportunities and challenges.
“We will also progress on our digital transformation journey. We are redesigning every aspect of how we do business, powered by an entirely new suite of technologies.
“Our aim is to deliver more personalised customer experiences, and seamless customer journeys, and make our operations and back-office functions even more efficient.”
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