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Emirates Profit Jumps 34% as Gulf Carrier Swells A380 Fleet

Emirates, the world’s No. 1 airline by international traffic, boosted full-year profit 34 percent as it added routes using the largest fleet of Airbus SAS superjumbos.

Net income increased to 3.1 billion dirhams ($845 million) in the 12 months to March 31 from 2.3 billion dirhams a year earlier, the Dubai-based carrier said today in a statement, buoyed by a 17 percent gain in revenue to 77.5 billion dirhams.

Emirates added 34 new planes in the year, including 10 double-decker A380s, as it seeks to establish Dubai as hub for inter-continental transfer traffic and strip business from rivals including Air France-KLM Group and Deutsche Lufthansa AG. The passenger total reached 39.4 million, a gain of 5.4 million.

“The year ahead will again be more profitable than the last,” Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement. “We continue to invest heavily in our future.”

The Persian Gulf carrier added 10 destinations last year, including Washington, Adelaide and Barcelona, and has announced four new routes already for 2013 -- among them a Milan to New York connection that avoids its Dubai hub.

Fleet Plan

Net income at the main airline division surged 52 percent to 2.3 billion dirhams in the 12 months, with the Dnata ground-handling unit posting a record figure of 819 million dirhams.

Fuel costs rose 15 percent to 27.9 billion dirhams, tracking the expansion in capacity, with prices little changed. Non-fuel costs rose 1.7 percent and the operating margin reached 3.1 percent after shrinking to 2.4 percent the year prior.

Emirates has ordered 90 A380s, with 31 in the fleet, and may consider adding another 30, President Tim Clark said May 6.

The world’s largest operator of Boeing Co. 777s is also looking at a major order for the upgraded 777X model that the U.S. planemaker has begun to market, Clark said.

Emirates last year expanded its cargo fleet with the addition of four 777 freighters, helping to increase freight sales 8.4 percent to more than 2 million tons, even as the global market shrank.

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