Emirates is as transparent as any other carrier: Shaikh Ahmed

DUBAI— Emirates is financially self-sustained and unprotected while enjoying one of the fastest rates of growth in profitability and operations in the global airline industry, said Emirates' chairman Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum yesterday.

By Babu Das Augustine (ASSISTANT EDITOR)

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Published: Mon 21 Nov 2005, 10:23 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 5:22 PM

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of Dubai Airshow, Shaikh Ahmed denied all accusations made by other global carriers on issues such as being beneficiary to government subsidy, fuel subsidy and tax advantages. “Business establishments including foreign owned companies are not taxed in Dubai. There is a total absence of corporate tax or income tax here, then what is the logic of accusing Emirates of not paying taxes,” Shaikh Ahmed said while countering accusations that the Dubai-based airline is beneficiary of state subsidies and tax rebates.

Emirates reported Dh922 million ($251 million) for the first six months of the financial year 2005-06, from April 1 to September 30. Despite the fact that fuel cost rose 84 per cent compared to the first six months last financial year. The excellent results posted by the airline had come under intense speculation in the international airline industry that it is subsidised by the government.

At Emirates, fuel accounted for 27 per cent of operating cost compared with 19 per cent during the same period last year. Measures taken by Emirates to remain on target include stringent cost-containment and efficiency drives, but like other airlines, Emirates has been forced to impose fuel surcharges on tickets, which do not fully cover the escalating costs.

“Our performance in the face of severe challenges demonstrates the company's resilience and adaptability to new and dynamic operating environment.” Rubbishing the accusations of being less transparent and a beneficiary of state aid, Shaikh Ahmed said, “Most of these accusations come from business rivalry and jealousy. We are as transparent as any other airline company in the world. While our books are audited by a reputed audit firm, they are open to anybody for inspection provided they are willing to open their books for our scrutiny.”

Admitting the obvious advantages of being located in Dubai, Shaikh Ahmed said, “We have certain cost advantages in being in Dubai that is the locational advantage every industry has.”

Commenting on the huge expansion of Emirates, he said, as an organisation Emirates is positive about all developments in Dubai and the Middle East region. “There are always some amount of uncertainties all players in the industry has to face. Events such as SARS, 9/11 or bird flu have had major impact on our business. But we can’t afford to sit idle until certainty emerges. We always work towards overcoming problems that are likely to come on our way,” he said.

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