The Emirates Group, which includes Emirates airline as well as ground handling company Dnata and a range of catering and hospitality companies, reported a $6 billion pandemic loss for the 2020 / 2021 financial year on Tuesday. The vast majority of the group’s losses came from the airline which haemorrhaged $5.5 billion over the last year.
Emirates’ chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum revealed on Tuesday that the Dubai government had injected a total of $3.1 billion into the company and that financial support would carry on coming as the pandemic continues to take a “tremendous toll” on the aviation and travel industry.
Despite Dubai’s decision to aggressively reopen last July, Emirates was hit hard by the UAE’s initial lockdown order and an 8-week near-total grounding at the start of the pandemic. Passenger numbers for the year plummeted by over 88 per cent to just 6.5 million and load factor dropped to around 44 per cent.
Emirates has since recovered its route network to 120 destinations but Sheikh Al Maktoum admitted that recovery would be “patchy”. In recent weeks, the airline has been forced to axe the majority of flights to and from India – traditionally its strongest market and a slew of other travel restrictions have weighed down Emirates’ recovery ambitions.
The pandemic drove the group to its first loss in over 30 years and also resulted in redundancies across every part of the business for the first time in the company’s history. Nearly a third of the Emirates Group workforce was made redundant driving the worldwide employee count down to just 75,145.
Emirates aircraft fleet currently stands at 259 at the end of March after five Airbus A380’s and nine Boeing 777-300’s were retired. The airline’s order book of 200 new aircraft has not been altered “at this time” although there is still the possibility that Emirates could adjust its fleet requirements in the years ahead.
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Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.