DUBAI - Dubai's Emirates airline group posted a 61-per cent slump in net profit in the year to March 31 due to unprecedented economic pressures and record high fuel prices, the company said Thursday.
Total profits for Emirates Group, including all of its subsidiaries, dropped to 2.3 billion dirhams (S$789 million) in 2011-2012 from 5.9 billion dirhams (US$1.6 billion) for the previous year, the company said.
Net profits for the airline alone stood at 1.5 billion dirhams (US$409 million), compared with 5.4 billion dirhams (US$1.5 billion) for the same period in the year before.
"Achieving our 24th consecutive year of profit and maintaining an upward growth trajectory is an achievement that belies the industry norm," said chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum.
Despite a difficult operating environment, Emirates Group continued to invest in and expand on its employee base, increasing its overall staff count by more than 10 per cent, the company said.
The company also attributed part of the drop in profits to massive new investments.
"Throughout the 2011-12 financial year the Group has collectively invested close to 14 billion dirhams (US$3.8 billion) in new products. This investment has garnered new customers and increased our international presence," Sheikh Ahmed said.
During the year, Emirates acquired a staggering 22 new aircraft, its highest in any single year, funded by a wide variety of financing structures, it said.
With an increased fleet, Emirates further invested in its network by adding 11 new destinations and expanding capacity to 34 cities, a record for the airline.
Emirates airline's income reached a record high 62.3 billion dirhams (US$17 billion), up 14.9 per cent from 2010-2011, the company said.
Despite this strong revenue growth, the stifling cost of jet fuel impacted the net profit, it said.