Dubai-based Emirates has blamed high fuel costs for an 88% dip in fiscal first-half profit to AED284 million ($77.3 million) from the AED2.36 billion ($642.19 million) as compared to the same year-ago period, ending 30 September 2007.
In a statement Emirates chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said the first half "has been very tough for the airline industry" and that the carrier "has worked hard to manage the impact of high fuel prices on our unit costs while continuing to grow our business."
Though operating revenue went up 31% year-over-year, to AED22.1 billion ($6 billion), fuel costs more than doubled. Even as passenger traffic increased 11%, load factor slipped marginally to 78.2% on a 13% increase in capacity.
Sheikh Maktoum struck an optimistic note, however, saying the airline had survived the worst of the crisis. "Our business fundamentals are solid, and providing there is no further fallout from the current global financial situation, we anticipate a robust second half of the financial year," Al-Maktoum said.
The carrier took delivery of eight new aircraft (including two A380s) in the first half and now operates 121 aircraft to 100 destinations. It is due to commence services to San Francisco on 15 December.