The Dubai-based carrier recorded its twentieth consecutive year of profitability, despite a 29 per cent year-on-year increase in fuel costs. Fuel accounted for 31 per cent of the airline’s total costs, $500m more than the company had budgeted for.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, chairman of Emirates, says the impact of fuel costs had been outweighed by a surge in passenger numbers and a boost to its cargo business.

Passenger numbers rose by 21 per cent while cargo volumes increased by 11 per cent to 1.3 million tonnes. The airline’s load factor for the year was 80 per cent.