Dubai-based Emirates Group today reported a 4% rise in half-year net profits to $600 million.

The came on the back of a 13% increase in revenues to $11.5 billion as Emirates Airline saw passenger numbers go up by 15% to 21.5 million and profits rise by 2% to $475 million.

Profits at Dnata rose by 13% to $125 million as revenues increased by 18% to $1 billion in the six months to September 30.

Revenue from Dnata’s travel services business contributed $83 million, up 16% year on year.

Group chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “The global business environment continues to be challenging.

“We have stayed agile even as we grow, and this ability to adapt and act quickly has been key to our success.

“Our investments in the infrastructure of both Emirates and Dnata continue to pay off, and while we keep a close watch on managing our immediate business targets, we never lose sight of our long-term goals, and that is why we continue to invest in the business.”

The airline received nine wide body passenger aircraft – six Airbus A380s and three Boeing 777s – in the half year, with a further 15 to join the fleet by March, the end of the group’s financial year.

He added: “Our capacity and route growth continue to match and meet passenger demand.

“High fuel prices, accounting for 39% of our expenditures, and the unfavourable currency exchange environment continue to eat into our profits.

“However, we remain steadfast in our vision to be the airline of choice for international air services, and we will invest in our people and our infrastructure, and work closely with our partners to bring this to fruition.”

Overall staff numbers across the group increased by almost 12% to 75,800 since March 31.