Dubai-owned Emirates airlines posted a 24 percent rise in net profit in 2000 despite volatile world markets and higher costs, group chairman Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum announced Saturday, April 28.
"We achieved a profit of 531 million dirhams ($144 million) for the group, an increase of 24.1 percent compared with last year's total of 428 million dirhams ($116.6 million)," Shaikh Ahmad told a press conference.
Of the overall income, profits for the airline alone rose 40.2 percent from 301 million dirhams ($82 million) to 422 million dirhams ($115 million), he said.
Emirates unit Dnata Airport Services returned a net income of 109 million dirhams ($29.7 million) compared with 127 million dirhams ($34.6 million) the previous year. Total revenues for the year ending March 31, 2001, also increased by 24 percent to 6.9 billion dirhams ($1.9 billion).
Shaikh Ahmad said a "remarkable upturn from December onwards brought us well into the black, and Dnata's net income too was only marginally lower than last year. Jet fuel prices continued to rise, but our fuel-purchasing policy saved us 200 million dirhams ($54.5 million) over the year compared to buying at prevailing market prices," he added.
Emirates, which flies to about 60 destinations worldwide, also saw a 19.8 percent jump in passengers to 5.7 million, while cargo carried was up 24.2 percent at 335,194 tons. Dnata, meanwhile, handled 12.8 million passengers through the new Shaikh Rashid terminal at Dubai airport and 573,000 tons of cargo, increases of 14.3 and 15 percent, respectively.
Shaikh Ahmad said the group had "approximately four billion dollars worth of aircraft on order", adding that it was aiming to have more than 100 planes operational over the next 10 years, compared to 35 today.
He put the cost of the expansion of Dubai airport, construction on which is due to start in 2002, at two billion dollars. "There will be a bigger terminal than the existing one as well as a concourse. It will be a completely new and bigger facility," he said.
Shaikh Ahmad, who is also Dubai's civil aviation chief, has said the airport would have an annual capacity of 45 million passengers by 2015. More than 100 airlines were operating almost 400 flights a day in Dubai by the end of 2000, a figure expected to double after the new terminal is completed.
It will be in the shape of a giant plane wing 1.2 kilometers (0.75 miles) long and capable of handling 64 parked planes and will be reserved for Emirates passengers.
If growth continues into the second decade, Dubai plans to build a totally new airport near the free zone of Jebel Ali, 50 kilometers (30 miles) out of town.
The airline was founded in 1985 and plans to dethrone Saudia as the leading carrier in terms of passenger volume in the Middle East by 2003. — (AFP, Dubai)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)