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Emirates airline reports record $4.7B profit as Gulf competition heats up

The Dubai-based airline has posted strong performance figures in recent months.
An Emirates Airlines plane lands at Dubai International Airport in Dubai on October 17, 2023. (Photo by Karim SAHIB / AFP) (Photo by KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images)

Emirates announced a record high profit for the fiscal year ending in April on Monday, marking a positive milestone as the gulf airline competition heats up. 

Emirates reported a profit of $4.7 billion for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, a 63% increase from $2.9 billion in the previous year. The Dubai-based airline attributed the performance to a 13% rise in revenue to $33 billion as the airline "continues to strengthen its global network and partnerships.” According to a press release from the airline, Emirates also noted a 20% capacity increase to 57.7 billion available ton kilometers, an industry measure that calculates the total tonnage available for carrying passengers and cargo multiplied by distance.

Emirates and airport services provider dnata together form Emirates Group. The provider reported a profit of $400 million, a more than fourfold increase from $90 million last year. Emirates Group likewise posted its best ever financial performance, with a record profit of $5.1 billion, up 71% from the year prior, according to the release.

Emirates’ fiscal year ran from April 1, 2023, to March 31, 2024.

Why it matters: The figures constitute more good news for Emirates. In November, Emirates Group reported a $2.7 billion profit for the first half of the fiscal year, its highest half-year result ever.

Emirates posted a $5.5 billion loss in the fiscal year beginning in 2020 and then a $1.1 billion loss in 2021, but has largely recovered since then with the rebound in global air travel. On Monday the airline said that its ATKs are “closing [the] gap to pre-pandemic levels.”

The news comes as Emirates’ competitors are seeing a rebound. Last week, Etihad reported that its profits after tax for the first quarter of 2024 were $143 million, up from $59 million during the same time in 2023. In November, Qatar Airways Group said it achieved a net profit of $1.026 billion for the first half of the 2023-2024 fiscal year, an increase of 113.8% from the same period the year prior.

Competition among Gulf airlines is heating up with the launch of Riyadh Air, a Saudi airline that plans to take to the skies in 2025.

Emirates and Etihad continue to work together. In April, dnata received a contract from Etihad to provide in-flight catering services to the Abu Dhabi based airline at Boston's Logan Airport. Last year, Emirates and Etihad signed an interline expansion agreement to provide more options for travelers to the United Arab Emirates.

Know more: Etihad has indicated interest in launching an initial public offering this year. The move would make the airline the first in the Gulf to float it shares on the stock market, Jack Dutton reported for Al-Monitor in March.