Emirates blasts through $1 billion profit

Rumours have been around for a few weeks that Emirates would crack the $1 billion profit mark this year – not so difficult given the dollar’s decline, but in fact the figure announced this morning is $1.45 billion net. That’s 54% up on last year in local currency and represents a 13.2% margin – enough to make any other mainline carrier weep.

Revenues? Up 32% to AED39.5 billion ($10.8 billion).

Despite aggressive hedging, fuel represented 30% of operating costs, up on 29% last year and 27% the previous year.

How does Emirates say it did all this? “This result was due to improved yields and higher load factors on increased capacity; as well as other operating gains.” A kind of perfect storm.

And what’s the biggest challenge for the future: “As we plan for the next decade, our biggest challenges will be to find more pilots, engineers, cabin crew and skilled staff across our various business units. Fortunately, Emirates has thus far been a strong employer brand, with more than three million unique visitors browsing job opportunities on our online recruitment website last year, from which we received over 288,000 applications for positions within the Group. Being based in Dubai also has its advantages as the city itself is already preparing to welcome 15 million visitors by 2010 and there is massive investment in infrastructure to serve and attract the increasing number of expatriates.”

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