Emirates first half profits slip to $225m

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First half net profits at Gulf carrier giant Emirates Airline fell almost three-quarters to Dhs827 million ($225 million) for the six months ending September 2011 as higher fuel costs and a tough market environment took its toll.

It compares to the Dhs3.4 billion net profit it made at the same stage last year - which itself marked a quadrupling of the 2009 first half profit.

Emirates revenues, including other operating income, increased 15% to Dhs 30.3 billion in the first half. The carrier said this largely reflects improved passenger and cargo yields, itself a result of higher fares to counter increased fuel costs. The airline's fuel bill jumped more than a $1 billion on increased capacity and higher fuel prices.

Passenger traffic grew 5.7% over the six months to September, falling short of the extra 8.2% capacity the carrier add. As a result, Emirates passenger load factor slipped to 79.3%, compared to 81.2% at the same stage last year.

"Emirates remained focused on its long-term strategy despite global instability, ever climbing fuel prices which resulted in Emirates paying $1 billion more in fuel costs over the same period last year and fluctuating exchange rates," said airline chairman and chief executive, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, "The global challenges of the past six months have again put Emirates to the test, and once again we have risen to the challenge and continue to maintain our high standards of product and services."