Emirates reports AED 20.3 billion annual loss as COVID hits travel

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Emirates Airline has posted an annual loss of AED 20.3 billion (US$ 5.5 billion), its first in over 30 years, after the pandemic disrupted the aviation industry.

It comes after the airline recorded AED 1.1 billion (US$ 288 million) profit last year.

Revenue dropped 66 per cent to AED 30.9 billion (US$ 8.4 billion), due to the temporary suspension of passenger flights at its hub in March 2020 and ongoing global travel restrictions.

Airline capacity reduced to 24.8 billion, with aircraft fleet size reduced by 11 aircraft.

Meanwhile, the Emirates Group recorded an annual loss of AED 22.1 billion (US$ 6.0 billion) and Dnata reported a loss of AED 1.8 billion (US$ 496 million) down from AED 618 million (US$ 168 million) profit in the previous year.

"Our top priorities throughout the year were: the health and wellbeing of our people and customers, preserving cash and controlling costs, and restoring our operations safely and sustainably," highlighted His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.

"Emirates received a capital injection of AED 11.3 billion (US$ 3.1 billion) from our ultimate shareholder, the Government of Dubai, and dnata tapped on various industry support programmes and availed a total relief of nearly AED 800 million in 2020-21. These helped us sustain operations and retain the vast majority of our talent pool. Unfortunately, we still had to make the difficult decision to resize our workforce in line with reduced operational requirements."

For the first time in the Group’s history, redundancies were implemented and the total workforce reduced by 31 per cent.

"No one knows when the pandemic will be over, but we know recovery will be patchy," stressed Sheikh Ahmed.

"Economies and companies that entered pandemic times in a strong position, will be better placed to bounce back. Until 2020-21, Emirates and dnata have had a track record of growth and profitability, based on solid business models, steady investments in capability and infrastructure, a strong drive for innovation, and a deep talent pool led by a stable leadership team. These fundamental ingredients of our success remain unchanged.

"Together with Dubai’s undiminished ambitions to grow economic activity and build a city for the future, I am confident that Emirates and dnata will recover and be stronger than before.

"In the year ahead, we will continue to adopt an agile approach in responding to the dynamic marketplace. We aim to recover to our full operating capacity as quickly as possible to serve our customers, and to continue contributing to the rebuilding of economies and communities impacted by the pandemic," he added.

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