Emirates has warned that growth plans by airlines in the region are "unsustainable" as it reports a 50% jump in net profits for the last 12 months.

The airline's capacity grew by 30% last year – it now has 76 widebodies in service – and the first of 43 A380-800s is due to arrive next year. But the likelihood of overcapacity in the Gulf region looms as local rivals Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways expand rapidly and plan to add A380s.

Emirates vice-chairman Maurice Flanagan says that growth plans in the region as a whole "are not sustainable", but he believes Emirates is by far the best positioned carrier in the region.

Flanagan says there is "no doubt" that the carrier will acquire the proposed stretched, 650-seat A380-900 version. "What we have now is the mini-version of the A380," he says.

In the near term, the carrier is looking at the both the Boeing 777-200LR and more A340-500s as options for its long-haul fleet. "We don't quite know enough about the 777-200LR yet," says Flanagan, "but it looks like quite a good aircraft. It could be compatible with our A340-500s." The carrier is also evaluating the A350 and 787.

Emirates saw net profits increase nearly 50% to 2.6 billion dirhams ($708 million) in the year to March, fending off the spike in fuel prices. The increase in profits outstripped revenue growth of 36% to 19.1 billion dirhams.

Load factor increased from 73.4% to 74.6% and passenger numbers were up by 2.1 million to 12.5 million.


Source: Flight International