Profits at the Emirates Group soared by 34% on the back of a record rise in capacity.

Net profit came in at $845 million as the Dubai-based airline and travel group added 34 aircraft and 10 new destinations in the past year.

Passenger carryings rose by 5.4 million to more than 39 million, resulting in a profit for the airline of $622 million while travel and services arm dnata achieved a profit of $223 million.

The group continued to invest in and expand on its employee base, increasing its overall staff count by 12% to 68,000 despite a “difficult” trading environment.

Emirates’ fuel bill increased by 15% over last year to reach $7.6 billion with total operating costs increasing by 16% compared to a revenue increase of 17% over a year earlier.

Announcing a 25th consecutive year of profit, chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “Managing volatile exchange rates, coupled with a persistently high fuel bill accounting for 40% of our total expenditures, has required continued strong resolve.

“Even with these lingering challenges we continue to grow and remain profitable despite the industry norms because we continue to rely on our proven business model and understanding of the marketplace.”

He added: “Throughout the 2012-13 financial year the group has collectively invested over $3.8 billion in new aircraft, products, services and handling facilities as well as the newly opened JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai.

“This investment has resulted in an increased customer base and a rise in global brand awareness. Every dirham that we earn is strategically placed back into our business and it is this tenacious approach that has allowed the group to maintain such strong and consistent profitability under challenging circumstances.”

Group revenue reached $21.1 billion, an increase of 17% over the previous year’s results.

“Staying the course, our strategy for growth has reaped high benefits this past financial year, which has been our strongest ever in relationship to capacity growth,” said Sheikh Ahmed.

“Emirates seat load factor over the last three years has been 80% despite our increase in capacity by 44 per cent during the same period, showing the continued global demand for our product.

“Achieving our 25th consecutive year of profit in a financial year with our largest ever increase in capacity across the network is an achievement that speaks to the strength of our brands and our leadership.”