Published: 2021-06-15 10:31
Last Updated: 2023-03-21 12:31
Emirates Airlines, the largest air carrier in the Middle East, recorded an annual loss of 5.5 billion dollars for the first time in more than three decades, against the backdrop of closures related to the coronavirus, which hit the aviation sector hard.
The Dubai-based company said in a statement on Tuesday, “As a result of the continued restrictions on flights and travel due to the pandemic,” the company recorded “losses of 20.3 billion dirhams (5.5 billion dollars), compared to profits of the previous year."
The last time the company reported a loss was in the 1987-1988 financial year when its operations began.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the giant company was forced to reduce its extensive network of destinations and suspended its flights for weeks last year, before returning to increasing its operations with Dubai opening its doors to tourists in mid-2021 and turning the wealthy emirate into a major magnet for visitors fleeing the closures.
"The Covid-19 pandemic continues to take a heavy toll on human lives, societies, economies, the aviation and travel industry," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, CEO of Emirates Group.
He added that his group had suffered "due to the reduced demand for international travel" after "the countries of the world closed their borders and imposed strict travel restrictions."
The airline carried 6.6 million passengers, a decrease of 88 percent from the previous fiscal year.
The total revenue of the airline for the fiscal year decreased by 66 percent, to 30.9 billion dirhams (8.4 billion dollars).
For the first time since its inception, the Emirates Group has had to lay off employees. The total workforce in the group decreased by 31 percent, to 75,145 employees representing more than 160 different nationalities.
Emirates Airlines is the largest operator of the Airbus 380 aircraft. The group had previously announced plans to start diversifying its fleet and buying smaller aircraft.
The company is considered one of the most prominent successes of the city of Dubai, which includes many entertainment destinations and huge commercial centers and depends on tourism and the service sector in light of the most diversified economy in the oil-rich Gulf region. It received more than 16 million visitors last year. It was seeking to receive 20 million visitors this year.
The government of the emirate provided financial support to the company after the suspension of flights, amounting to about two billion dollars.