Dubai’s Emirates airline reports 40% profit surge on lower fuel costs

Emirates president Tim Clark has denied allegations that the Dubai airline has received billions of dollars in subsidies from the government. (Reuters)

Emirates airline on Thursday reported a 40 percent hike in its 2014 net profit, helped by lower fuel prices.

The Dubai-based carrier, one of the world’s largest, said it made $1.25 billion in the financial year ending March 31, with group savings of about $544 million due to the decline in oil prices.

Revenues were up 7 percent on the previous year to Dh88.8 billion ($24.18bn).

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum said fuel constituted 35 percent of operating costs against 39 percent in the previous 12 months, Reuters reported.

The wider Emirates Group made a net profit of Dh5.5 billion ($1.5bn) in 2014, up 34 percent on the previous year.

Saj Ahmad, the chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, told Al Arabiya News that the results marked “another year of superlatives” for Emirates’ financial performance.

The results covered a year in which Emirates grounded 22 aircraft due to 80-day runway works at Dubai International Airport, which cost the airline $463 million in lost revenue.

Ahmad said however that the runway works ended up working in the favor of Dubai’s flagship airline.

“The airline made the most of the efficiencies afforded to it thanks to the completion of the runway works at Dubai International Airport that has allowed even more flights to be handled,” he said.

Emirates president Tim Clark earlier this week issued a challenge to his counterparts at three U.S. airlines, asking them whether they will quit after alleging the Dubai airline receives unfair subsidies.

Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad stand accused of breaching “open skies” guidelines by American, Delta and United airlines, claims the Gulf carriers strenuously deny.

Qatar Airways has also denied allegations it receives government subsidies. Its chief executive Akbar Al Baker on Wednesday branded Richard Anderson, the head of U.S. carrier Delta, a “bully” and a “liar” for his part in the subsidy allegations.

Al Baker vowed to open Qatar Airways’ books to counter allegations that the airline, along with Emirates and Etihad, have collectively received government subsidies amounting to $42 billion over 10 years.

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