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COVID-19: Emirates Airline records $5.5bn annual loss — first in over 30 years

COVID-19: Emirates Airline records $5.5bn annual loss — first in over 30 years
June 15
13:58 2021

Emirates Airline plunged into a $5.5 billion annual loss — its first in more than three decades — after the coronavirus pandemic devastated the aviation industry.

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The last time the airline reported a loss was in the 1987-88 financial year, when it was starting up its operations.

This is contained in the Emirates Group’s annual report 2020-21 released on Tuesday.

Emirates had suspended flight operations in March 2020 for about eight weeks following a temporary closure of airports in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

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The airline said its revenue dropped by 66 percent to $8.4 billion, while operating costs declined by 46 percent.

It said due to the outbreak, passenger capacity declined by 82.6 percent — the airline’s steepest decline ever — and also recorded a drop of 76.3 percent in passenger flights compared to the previous year.

“Without a shadow of doubt, and similar to industry trend, this was the most challenging year in Emirates’ operating history,” the report reads.

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“It is the sheer duration and uncertainty surrounding the containment of the virus that had a severe impact on our operations this year.

“As a result, Emirates recorded a loss of AED 20.3bn ($5.5 billion) , its first in the last 33 years.

“The future also remains uncertain, with most analysts suggesting that it will take years to recover to pre-crisis levels.”

Also, the Dubai-based airline recorded heavy layoffs as it slashed employee’s base (inclusive of Dnata, its ground-handling, travel services and catering firm) by 30.8 percent to 75,145 employees.

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The report further read that the airline received a capital injection of $3.1 billion from its ultimate shareholder, the government of Dubai, to help it survive the crisis; while Dnata received 800 million dirhams ($2.18 million) in relief.

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