The Emirates Group has posted a record profit increase of 248 percent, an outstanding result in a year fraught with worldwide market instability and economic uncertainty.

The 2009-10 Annual Report of the Emirates Group - comprising Emirates Airline, Dnata and their subsidiary companies ’ was released in Dubai today at a news conference hosted by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.

Sheikh Ahmed said: ‘It has been an exceptional year of continued profitability against a backdrop of the worst global recession in generations. The first half of the financial year however, was extremely challenging as the world continued to grapple with the economic crisis. Our pioneering spirit and ability to adapt in adverse conditions helped us to push through this harsh economic climate with an extremely strong performance in the latter part of the year.’

In a difficult year the Group’s net profits increased 248 percent to AED 4.2 billion (US$ 1.1 billion) for the financial year ended 31st March 2010. Group revenue remained stable at AED 45.4 billion (US$ 12.4 billion) reflecting lower passenger and cargo yields offset by increased traffic. The Group profit margin improved to 9.1 percent from 2.6 percent a year earlier.

The Group’s cash balance grew to AED 12.5 billion (US$ 3.4 billion) at the end of March, a remarkable improvement of 43.3 percent or AED 3.8 billion (US$ 1 billion) against the previous year. This excellent result is also after AED 3.4 billion (US$ 931 million) of investments mainly in new aircraft, other aircraft related equipment and dedicated lounges.

The Group’s outstanding performance this year, in some of the toughest operating conditions ever faced, reflects its success in maintaining its business as usual approach, remaining true to its strategy of product and service excellence. This is illustrated by the 27.5 million passengers who flew with Emirates in the latest financial year, 4.7 million more than in the previous year; as well as the expansion of Dnata’s international ground handling operations to 20 airports in nine countries.

Sheikh Ahmed continued: ‘Time and time again Emirates has weathered adversity. We have operated through regional conflict, SARS, the Asian economic collapse and most recently the global recession. Our 21 percent increase in passenger numbers from last year is an incredible result and has helped to cushion us from the effects of lower yields. This increase in passenger numbers is attributable not only to our position at the centre of the new Silk Road between East and West, but also to our commitment in increasing our network and service standards, during a time where many competitors were doing the opposite.’

In his opening review in the 2009-10 Annual Report, Sheikh Ahmed highlighted the Group’s ability to flourish in adversity, despite the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reporting that airlines’ financial losses worldwide for 2009 reached US$ 9.4 billion ’ the most difficult situation ever faced by the industry.

He also remarked on some of the many significant milestones for the Group that have helped ensure its continued growth and success which included Dnata’s overseas expansion strategy through business acquisitions; Emirates’ addition of 15 new aircraft; the celebration of Dnata’s 50th year of operations; the opening of Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa in Australia ’ one of the world’s leading sustainable hotels and Emirates’ A380 route network expansion to several new airports including Seoul, Bangkok, Toronto, Paris and Jeddah.

Sheikh Ahmed added: ‘Emirates is incredibly proud of the fact that we are unsubsidized and wholly unprotected from foreign competition in our home market, thanks to Dubai’s progressive open skies policy.’ We continue to grow, not through protectionism but through competition. It is our drive and determination to succeed that has helped us to earn our solid reputation worldwide and we have no intentions of pulling back the reigns on our exp