Emirates Group First-Half Profit Climbs 68% on Passengers

Emirates Group, which operates the world’s largest airline by international traffic, posted a 68 percent increase in first-half profit as passenger traffic rose.

Net income climbed to $575 million for the six months ended Sept. 30 from $343 million a year earlier, the Dubai-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. Seat factor, a measure of occupancy, increased to 80 percent, while revenue and other operating income rose 17 percent to 38.25 billion dirhams ($10.4 billion). Emirates Group includes Emirates airline and ground-handling unit Dnata.

Airlines will earn $4.1 billion in 2012, $1.1 billion more than last estimated, as capacity curbs and mergers help boost fares amid high fuel prices and sluggish demand, the International Air Transport Association said in October. Net income at the main Emirates airline unit more than doubled to $464 million, while profit at Dnata fell 4 percent to $111 million, according to the Emirates Group statement.

“Emirates remained focused on its growth and global expansion despite on-going fluctuating exchange rates and ever lingering high fuel prices which accounted for 39 percent of our expenditures, down 2 percentage points from last year,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in the statement. Emirates added 15 new routes since September last year, it said.

Emirates in September tied up with Qantas Airways Ltd., which ended a 17 year tie-up with British Airways in order to revive the Australian carrier’s unprofitable international services by shifting its long-haul hub to Dubai. Emirates’ sales chief Thierry Antinori said last week the airline sees no need to follow Persian Gulf competitors in establishing links that could lead to membership of one of the industry’s three global groupings.

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