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Coronavirus

Dubai-based Emirates airline posts $5.5 bln loss as coronavirus disrupts travel

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The Middle East’s largest airline, Emirates, announced on Tuesday a net loss of $5.5 billion over the past year as revenue fell by more than 66 percent due to global travel restrictions sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Dubai-based airline said revenue had declined by $8.4 billion, largely due to the suspension of passenger flights at its hub in March 2020 and ongoing restrictions on travel. The airline said its total passenger and cargo capacity declined by 58 percent over the past year.

The airline last year had squeezed out profits of $288 million.

Emirates Group, which also operates dnata travel and ground services at airports, reported a total loss of $6 billion, the first time it did not post a profit in more than three decades, the company said.

An Emirates Airlines Boing 777 plane unload a coronavirus vaccine shipment at Dubai International Airport on February 1, 2021. (File photo: AFP)
An Emirates Airlines Boing 777 plane unload a coronavirus vaccine shipment at Dubai International Airport on February 1, 2021. (File photo: AFP)

The long-haul carrier, which is owned by the Dubai government, was thrown a $2 billion lifeline from Dubai’s government to stave off a liquidity crunch last year.

The airline was forced to ground all passenger flights in March 2020 for several weeks amid a temporary closure of airports in the United Arab Emirates, including transit flights through Dubai — the hub for Emirates and the world’s busiest airport for international travel.

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