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Emirates 2017 profit more than doubles on currency boost, fewer staff


EMIRATES airline on Wednesday reported a sharp increase in profits for 2017 as a favourable dollar exchange rate and lower staff numbers helped the long-haul carrier to rebound from a profit fall in its previous financial year, its first annual profit decline in five years.

Emirates' profit more than doubled to 2.8 billion dirhams (S$1.02 billion) in the financial year to March 31, compared with 1.3 billion dirhams a year earlier, the airline said.

Airlines around the world have been battling pressure on fares over the last couple of years due to volatile demand and fierce competition.

Emirates chairman Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum said that though business conditions improved they had remained tough.

"We saw ongoing political instability, currency volatility and devaluations in Africa, rising oil prices which drove our costs up, and downward pressure on margins from relentless competition," he said.

Revenue rose 9 per cent to 92.3 billion dirhams, which reflected the benefits from the strengthening of currencies against the dollar.

The airline marginally filled more seats than it added, leading to a rise in the average yield per passenger.

It carried 58.5 million passengers in the year, representing an annual increase of 4 per cent.

Emirates' workforce shrank by 4 per cent to 62,356, as part of "productivity improvement initiatives". The airline's cabin crew numbers fell by 5.3 per cent to 23,135, and pilots by 0.3 per cent to 4,157.

Emirates on Tuesday denied a Reuters report that said the airline was facing a cabin crew shortage. REUTERS

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