Bucking the trend

Dubai airline Emirates announced a 48.7 percent rise in annual net profit on Wednesday, citing growth in tourism and business travel through its Dubai hub, heavy investment in its fleet and a non-union workforce. Dubai airline Emirates announced a 48.7 percent rise in annual net profit on Wednesday, citing growth in tourism and business travel through its Dubai hub, heavy investment in its fleet and a non-union workforce. Net profit rose to 2.34 billion dirhams (US$ 637 million) for the year to end-March, while total revenue increased 36 percent to 18.113 billion dirhams (US$ 4.93 billion).

Emirates is in the middle of an expansion drive that will see it taking delivery of a new plane each month for the next seven years. It added nine aircraft in 2004-2005, taking the fleet to 75 at the end of the year.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, chairman of Emirates Group, said the airline benefited from having its base at the region’s busiest airport, Dubai International.

Passenger numbers increased 20 percent to 12.5 million, he said.

Higher fuel costs dented profits, however, and will continue to pose a challenge during the current financial year, he said.

“Had fuel prices stayed at the levels