Dubai-based Emiratesreported on 15 November that it had recorded its best-ever first-half results, despite rocketing fuel prices. The airline saw net profits increase by 41 per cent to AED 865 million ($236 million) for the period 1 April-30 September in its fiscal year 2004/05. Cargo revenue was up by 42 per cent, with tonnage increasing to 401,500 tonnes from 315,553 in H1 2003.
Despite an escalation in fuel costs in the second quarter, Emirates attributed the positive results to growing passenger and cargo demand and stringent cost-cutting measures. 'This [fuel price] is still affecting our performance and has forced us to adopt some stringent cost containment measures such as a hiring freeze on non-operational staff,' said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, Emirates Group chairman. 'We are looking constantly for other cost savings everywhere.' The positive results come two weeks after Air France-KLMpresident Jean-Cyril Spinetta suggested Emirates was not respecting commercial best practices. He called on the airline to open up its accounts. 'This would help us understand [the] business model and enable us to implement the same plan,' said Spinetta at the Cannes Airlines Forum in early November. Emirates chief director Tim Clark denied the airline received any government subsidies, adding that the government was not supplying free or more affordable jet fuel. www.meed.com/transport