MIAMI — Emirates Airline posted a whopping profit of $887 million US, or AED 3.3 billion, in the financial year 2013, which runs through March.
The expansion in profits mirrors an aggressive network and fleet expansion for the already enormous Dubai-based carrier. The airline took delivery of twenty-four new aircraft in 2013, including sixteen of the Airbus A380 super jumbo and eight of Boeing’s 777 aircraft; the carrier is already the largest operator in the world of both. The increase in aircraft led to being able to open nine new destinations, including Boston, Clark, Conakry, Haneda, Kabul, Kieve, Sialkot, Stockholm, and Taipei.
Between the increased destinations and expanded fleet, size the carrier’s seat capacity grew 14.3% year-over-year (YOY). Load factors remained steady through the growth, dipping just half of one percent YOY to 79.4%. A total of 44 million passengers flying aboard Emirates’ jets, up 13% from 2012. Operating revenues thus jumped 13.02% YOY to $22.5 billion US.
Operating costs overall rose eleven percent YOY to $21.34 billion US, largely in line with the carrier’s expansion. Fuel charges led the pack, increasing 10.2% to $8.35 billion overall, though the increase is more reflective of additional aircraft joining the fleet as prices per gallon dropped four percent through the year. Labor costs came in second, rising 13.3% to $2.79 billion US to cover its 52,516 staff members. Like fuel the rise in, however, costs mirrors the addition of 4,838 new staff members, a 10% YOY increase.
Between product upgrades, aircraft purchases, and increased staff members the company sunk in $5.7 billion. Emirates is hoping the investments will better position itself against increasingly aggressive regional competitors Etihad and Qatar. The former recently unveiled its insanely opulent A380 “residences”, prompting Emirates to reveal it was considering making a similar move.
Its parent company, Emirates Group, which includes both the airline and its ground/hotel company dnata, posted a $1.1 billion US profit, up 32% over 2012.