MIAMI – Following Emirates Airlines’ (EK) announcement of a US$5.5bn net loss, Dubai’s government has today stepped in with an additional US$1.1bn in state aid to keep the carrier afloat. 

The loss, the airlines biggest in its operational history, has been triggered due to the unprecedented collapse in long-haul travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The carrier has received a total of US$3.1bn in cash injections, after US$2 billion was invested last year. 

Emirates has now received $3.1 billion in state aid. Emirates A6-EQG Boeing 777-300(ER). Photo: Sean Brink/Airways

Plummeting Passenger Numbers


Passenger numbers plummeted to just 6.6 million in the 2020/2021 financial year, down 88%. Just 44.3% of seats had been filled, compared to an average of 78.5% the previous year. 

The Middle-Eastern carrier has no domestic market, meaning international restrictions and border closures have had a significant impact on its performance. 

Nearly all of Emirates Airbus A380s have been grounded, as capacity was slashed by 82.6%. The reduction also meant that for the first time in its history, Emirates was forced to cut 31% of its workforce to 75,145 employees. 

Emirates A6-EDN Airbus A380. Photo: John leivaditis/Airways

Patchy Recovery


Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Photo: Emirates

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, said, “No one knows when the pandemic will be over, but we know recovery will be patchy. Economies and companies that entered pandemic times in a strong position, will be better placed to bounce back. 

“Until 2020-21, Emirates and dnata have had a track record of growth and profitability, based on solid business models, steady investments in capability and infrastructure, a strong drive for innovation, and a deep talent pool led by a stable leadership team. These fundamental ingredients of our success remain unchanged.”

Moving forward, Sheikh Ahmed said: “In the year ahead, we will continue to adopt an agile approach in responding to the dynamic marketplace. We aim to recover to our full operating capacity as quickly as possible to serve our customers, and to continue contributing to the rebuilding of economies and communities impacted by the pandemic.”


Featured image: Emirates A6-EQG Boeing 777-300(ER). Photo: Sean Brink/Airways