Middle East

Covid-19 costs Emirates 3.4 billion dirhams in March alone

Emirates Dubai UAE

Dubai state carrier Emirates Airline has reported a 21% increase in its full-year profit in the 12 months to March 31, though the pandemic cost the carrier over 3.4 billion dirhams in revenues in March.

The airline, one of the biggest long-haul carriers in the world, said it made 1.06 billion dirhams ($287.5 million) in that time, up from 871 million dirhams the previous year. But the coming year will be severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the airline’s chairman said.

Emirates Airline and Group Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said that from February, things began changing rapidly as the coronavirus spread around the globe, halting international travel.

“For the first 11 months of 2019-20, Emirates and dnata (travel services company) were performing strongly, and we were on track to deliver against our business targets. However, from mid-February things changed rapidly as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world, causing a sudden and tremendous drop in demand for international air travel as countries closed their borders and imposed stringent travel restrictions.”

Al Maktoum does not see air travel returning to normal for at least another 18 months, and warned that the Covid-19 will have a major effect on the coming year’s performance.

“The COVID-19 pandemic will have a huge impact on our 2020-21 performance, with Emirates’ passenger operations temporarily suspended since 25 March, and dnata’s businesses similarly affected by the drying up of flight traffic and travel demand all around the world,” the chairman said in a statement.

“We expect it will take 18 months at least, before travel demand returns to a semblance of normality.”