Emirates Airlines, the Middle East's largest air-carrier, has reported a 72 per cent decline in its net profit at 1.49 billion dirhams ($406 million) for the financial year ended March 31, 2009.
It had recorded a profit of 5.3 billion dirhams ($1.45 billion) in 2008, a company release said.
The Group's revenues saw an increase of 10.4 per cent at 46.3 billion dirhams ($12.6 billion) from 41.9 billion dirhams ($11.4 billion) last year. It also retained a healthy cash balance of 8.7 billion dirhams ($2.4 billion) compared with 14 billion dirhams ($3.8 billion) in the previous year.
The decline in profit was mainly due to the rising fuel prices in the first six months and then a decrease in demand following the global financial crisis amid a strengthening US dollar against major currencies, the statement said.
The net margin of the Group stood at 3.3 per cent, compared to 13.2 per cent in the previous year.
In 2008-09, the Group estimates a total contribution of 58.8 billion dirhams ($16.0 billion) to the UAE economy.
Emirates Airline and Group Chairman and Chief Executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said: "We have returned to our 21st consecutive year of net profit, although it is 72 per cent down..." The Group's performance this year demonstrates its flexibility in a challenging economic period, and its ability to strategically grow its business and customer demand, he said.