Emirates, dnata able to rapidly pivot to serve cargo demand and other pockets of opportunity.
The Emirates Group today announced its half-year results for its 2020-21 financial year. Group revenue was Dh13.7 billion ($3.7 billion) for the first six months of 2020-21, down 74% from Dh53.3 billion ($14.5 billion) during the same period last year.
The dramatic revenue decline was due to the Covid-19 pandemic which brought global air passenger travel to a halt for many weeks as countries closed their borders and imposed travel restrictions. As part of pandemic containment measures, Emirates and dnata’s hub in Dubai also suspended scheduled passenger flights for 8 weeks during April and May.
The Group is reporting a 2020-21 half-year net loss of Dh14.1 billion ($3.8 billion). The Group’s cash position on September 30, 2020 stood at Dh20.7 billion ($5.6 billion), compared to Dh25.6 billion ($7 billion) as at March 31, 2020.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group said: “We began our current financial year amid a global lockdown when air passenger traffic was at a literal standstill. In this unprecedented situation for the aviation and travel industry, the Emirates Group recorded a half-year loss for the first time in over 30 years.
“As passenger traffic disappeared, Emirates and dnata have been able to rapidly pivot to serve cargo demand and other pockets of opportunity. This has helped us recover our revenues from zero to 26% of our position same time last year.
“The Emirates Group’s resilience in the face of current headwinds is testimony to the strength of our business model, and our years of continued investment in skills, technology and infrastructure which are now paying off in terms of cost and operational efficiency. Emirates and dnata have also built strong brands and agile digital capabilities which continue to serve us well, and enabled us to respond adeptly to the accelerated shift of customer and business activities online over the past 6 months.”
Sheikh Ahmed added: “We would like to thank our customers for their continued support, and express our appreciation for the combined stakeholder efforts that have made it possible for Dubai to resume aviation and other economic activity so quickly and safely.
“In the first half of 2020-21, our shareholder injected $2 billion into Emirates by way of an equity investment and they will support us on our recovery path.”
The Emirates Group’s employee base, compared to March 31, 2020, is substantially reduced by 24% to an overall count of 81,334 as at September 31, 2020. This is in line with the company’s expected capacity and business activities in the foreseeable future and general industry outlook. Emirates and dnata continue to look at every means to protect its skilled workforce, including participating in job saver programmes where these exist.
During the first six months of 2020-21, Emirates retired 3 older aircraft from its fleet as part of its long-standing strategy to improve overall efficiency, minimise its emissions footprint, and provide high quality customer experiences.
As directed by the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, Emirates temporarily suspended passenger flights on March 25 and worked closely with governments and embassies to operate repatriation services until Dubai International airport (DXB) re-opened for transit passengers and later for scheduled passenger flights. The airline also partnered with the health authorities to implement comprehensive pandemic health and safety measures onboard and on the ground, to safeguard its customers, employees and the communities it serves.
Emirates gradually restarted scheduled passenger operations on May 21. By September 30, the airline was operating passenger and cargo services to 104 cities.
dnata’s businesses in ground handling, catering and travel services were heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic as customer airlines cut their flight schedules and service requirements or suspended operations entirely, and dynamic border restrictions around the world curbed travel demand and bookings.
Where eligible, dnata participated in job saver and other government support programmes. This included retraining employees and redeploying them in other essential industries with labour shortfalls during the pandemic. dnata also introduced new flexible work models in markets where it was possible to do so, in order to retain more of its skilled workforce.
Robust airfreight traffic across markets was a bright spot for dnata’s airport operations which responded nimbly to meet customer demand. Across its business divisions, dnata implemented enhanced health and safety measures to safeguard employees and communities, and recalibrated its products and services to meet new client requirements. It also tapped on opportunities in markets as these arose, for instance partnering with healthcare providers to offer airline passengers pre-travel Covid-19 PCR tests as part of its home check-in services.
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