The Emirates Group today announced its 31st consecutive year of profit and steady business expansion. Released today in its 2018-19 Annual Report, the Emirates Group posted a profit of US$ 631 million for the financial year ended 31 March 2019, down 44% from last year. The Group’s revenue reached US$ 29.8 billion, an increase of 7% over last year’s results. The Group’s cash balance was US$ 6.0 billion, down 13% from last year mainly due to large investments into the business, including significant acquisitions and payment of last year’s US$ 545 million dividend.
In line with the overall profit, the Group declared a dividend of US$ 136 million to the Investment Corporation of Dubai for 2018-19.
Emirates’ total passenger and cargo capacity crossed the 63 billion mark, to 63.3 billion ATKMs at the end of 2018-19, cementing its position as the world’s largest international carrier. The airline moderately increased capacity during the year over 2017-18 by 3%, with a focus on yield improvement.
Emirates received 13 new aircraft during the financial year, comprising of seven A380s and six Boeing 777-300ERs, including the last 777-300ER on its order book. The next 777 delivery is planned for 2020, when Emirates receives its first 777X aircraft.
During 2018-19, Emirates phased out 11 older aircraft, bringing its total fleet count to 270 at the end of March. This fleet roll-over involving 24 aircraft was again one of the largest managed in a year, keeping Emirates’ average fleet age at a youthful 6.1 years.
It reinforces Emirates’ strategy to operate a young and modern fleet, and live up to its “Fly Better” brand promise as modern aircraft are better for the environment, better for operations, and better for customers.
During the year, Emirates launched three new passenger destinations: London Stansted (UK), Santiago (Chile) and Edinburgh (Scotland), and reinstated services to Sabiha Gokcen (Turkey). It also added flight capacity to 14 existing destinations and upgraded capacity to six cities, offering customers more choice of flight timings and onward connections.
Supplementing its organic network growth, Emirates expanded its global connectivity and customer proposition through new codeshare agreements signed with Jetstar Pacific and China Southern Airlines. It also enhanced its commercial strategic partnership with South African Airways.
The Emirates-flydubai partnership continued to develop, with Emirates customers now able to access 67 more destinations served by flydubai, and enjoy greater connectivity with 11 flydubai flights operating from Emirates Terminal 3. The partnership alignment also saw Emirates Skywards become the loyalty programme for both Emirates and flydubai.
Despite stiff competition across its key markets, Emirates increased its revenue by 6% to US$ 26.7 billion. The relative strengthening of the US dollar against currencies in many of Emirates’ key markets had an AED 572 million (US$ 156 million) negative impact to the airline’s bottom line, a stark contrast to the previous year’s positive currency impact of US$ 180 million.
Total operating costs increased by 8% over the 2017-18 financial year. The average price of jet fuel climbed by a further 22% during the financial year after last year’s 15% increase. Including a 3% higher uplift in line with capacity increase, the airline’s fuel bill increased substantially by 25% over last year to US$ 8.4 billion. This is the biggest-ever fuel bill for the airline, accounting for 32% of operating costs, compared to 28% in 2017-18. Fuel remained the biggest cost component for the airline.
Against a backdrop of high fuel prices, strong competitive pressure, and unfavourable currency impact, the airline reported a profit of AED 871 million (US$ 237 million), a decline of 69% over last year’s results, and a profit margin of 0.9%.
Overall passenger traffic remained steady, as Emirates carried 58.6 million passengers (up 0.2%). With seat capacity increasing by 4%, the airline achieved a Passenger Seat Factor of 76.8%. The slight decline in passenger seat factor compared to last year’s 77.5%, reflects the impact of slowing regional economies on travel demand, and strong competition in many markets.
An increase in market fares and a favourable class mix helped support a passenger yield increase of more than 3% to 26.2 fils (7.1 US cents) per Revenue Passenger Kilometre (RPKM), although the full impact was partly offset by the strengthening of the US dollar against most currencies.
During the year, Emirates raised AED 14.2 billion (US$ 3.9 billion) to fund its fleet growth, using a combination of term loans, finance and operating leases.Testament to the increasing depth of the Japanese structured financing market for Emirates, all six 777-300ER aircraft delivered were financed via a Japanese Operating Lease with a Call Option (JOLCO) raising funding of more than US$ 1 billion. Emirates has now raised over AED 28 billion (US$ 7.6 billion) from the Japanese structured financing market since 2014.