RECORD PROFITS FOR EMIRATES
Regional turbulance ‘a challenge’
The chairman of The Emirates Group has described the challenges that conflicts in the Middle East pose to airlines operating in the region.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum was speaking as the aviation holding firm, which counts Emirates Airline and ground services firm dnata among its subsidiaries, posted record financial figures yesterday, making more than Dhs8 billion in profits for the first time.
Sheikh Ahmed said the firm’s performance is impressive given the challenges.
He said: “Be it Paris, Brussels or Yemen, geopolitical situations do affect our business.
“For example, our route to Seychelles or to an African destination was changed because of the closing of Yemen air space.
“We have to take a longer route, we cannot control these situations.
“Today we fly to Beirut in three and a half hours - which is normally a two hour and 45 minute flight. The effect is certainly there and we have to continue to deal with it.”
Sheikh Ahmed said that companies affected by the drop in oil prices have made cutbacks, which has had an impact on Emirates.
He said: “Our drop in revenue is due to the low oil prices and seat capacity decline as companies are downsizing first and business class travel.”
Last year 11,000 new employees joined the group’s 80 companies, bringing the staff figure to 95,000.
Emirates flew 51.9 million passengers last year. In 2016, 36 new aircrafts will be added to the fleet, 26 will be phased out.
Sheikh Ahmed continued: “Emirates and Dnata are competing on a global stage and can’t afford to be complacent, that’s why we invest in world-class facilities, modern aircrafts, improving our product and developing our people.
“At Dnata, we expect to fully integrate operations of our new acquisitions through our partners at Amsterdam airport... ground service in Brazil acquired in December 2015, Italy ground handling and in America.”
NEW ARRIVAL: An aircraft touches down in Bologna, Italy