Emirates on track to reach profit target
Berlin, March 11, 2010
Dubai-based Emirates airline has had a "very good year' and is on track to reach its full-year earnings target of Dh2 billion ($544 million), its chief executive Tim Clark told Reuters in an interview.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the world's biggest travel fair, ITB Berlin.
Emirates' fiscal year ends on March 31.
Middle Eastern airlines saw the highest growth rate of 11.2 percent in air passenger traffic globally for 2009 as carriers snapped up long-haul connecting traffic, industry body International Air Transport Association (Iata) said in January.
Emirates has grown to be the world's 10th-largest airline by scheduled passenger-kilometres flown, according to Iata. Excluding domestic flights, it is the world's fourth-largest airline.
Clark confirmed that the Dubai government-owned airline, the largest customer for the Airbus A380 superjumbo, has no problem financing the 11 aircraft it is set to receive this year as it presses ahead with expansion.
He also said that it would not be much longer until the company decides on how many more planes to order, after having said in November it was in talks with Boeing and Airbus to buy "tens of planes".
"The decision will be made when we're ready, it's not long," Clark said.
Middle Eastern governments have been developing their flagship carriers over the past couple of decades to help diversify their economies and reduce dependence on oil. These airlines are increasingly redirecting passenger flows from Europe, Asia and the Americas through their hubs, making them serious competitors for established airlines such as Lufthansa or Cathay Pacific. - Reuters