Dubai: From grounding flights during Covid to registering record profit of Dh10.9 billion; how Emirates turned the tide

The airline has moved from pandemic recovery to growth phase this year, hiring over 17,000 employees


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Fri 12 May 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 12 May 2023, 1:50 PM

Emirates Group has bounced back strongly after the pandemic, posting a record profit of Dh10.9 billion ($3 billion) for its 2022-23 financial year.

It posted a Dh3.8 billion loss in 2021-22 and a Dh22.1 billion loss in 2020-21 following the outbreak of the coronavirus, resulting in the grounding of the aircraft at the peak of the pandemic.

After grounding the aircraft to sending thousands of its staff on long leaves during the peak of the pandemic, the group has now almost returned to its pre-pandemic number of employees and overall performance as well.

Prior to Covid, it employed 105,730 employees in 2019-20. By the end of the 2022-23 financial year ended on March 31, it employed 102,379 employees, adding 17,160 workers – thanks to the strong recovery in the trade and tourism sectors last year.

In this spectacular turnaround, Dubai’s flagship airline Emirates played a key role and proved highly resilient yet again as it moved from post-pandemic recovery to a growth phase this year.

“If nothing else, the past 3 years have clearly shown the Emirates Group’s true mettle. We are nimble, resilient, forward-looking, and capable of tackling any headwinds that may come,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.

The airline’s recovery or growth has been driven mainly by its human capital, which was reflected in President Sir Tim Clark's statement, who predicted soon after the pandemic that recovery will be very strong.

The world has now witnessed how “revenge travel” helps airlines to turn back into the black. Emirates is not just the beneficiary of this “revenge travel”. As reported by Khaleej Times earlier, SriLankan Airlines has also reached the breakeven point, benefiting from the travel sector’s growth.

Emirates’ spectacular turnaround was also driven by the timely restarting of its services earlier than many other airlines post-pandemic, strengthening its network, deploying additional capacity to destinations where it was required, signing 11 additional codeshare and interline agreements, offering its passengers to travel seamlessly to more than 500 destinations.

The exponential growth in the travel and tourism recovery will not only help the airline to fully recover the previous two year’s losses but also put it on a sustained path of upward growth.

“We go into 2023-24 with a strong positive outlook and expect the Group to remain profitable. We will work hard to hit our targets while keeping a close watch on inflation, high fuel prices, and political and economic uncertainty."

"We will build on our strong foundations to ensure our future success, activating our strong brands, ongoing investments, talent pool, and strategic partnerships."


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