Emirates airline, based in Dubai International Airport, said that it will request financial support from the Dubai government if demand for air travel does not pick up soon.
The air travel sector has been severely affected by the repercussions of the Coronavirus pandemic during the past months.
Tim Clark, president of Emirates, said if traffic remains subdued, we will make recommendations to the government regarding raising more money.
Clark expressed his hope that demand would witness a recovery in time for the summer peak season, with the continued deployment of vaccination in the United States and Europe and its arrival in developing countries.
Alternatives to financial support
Emirates, which lost 12.6 billion dirhams ($3.4 billion) in the first half of the year, got $2 billion in equity in 2020 from the Dubai government, its sole shareholder.
The airline has also responded by halting a fleet of large Airbus A380s, while Boeing 777s are struggling with reduced passenger loads and mainly cargo transportation.
Last November, Tim Clark predicted that the company would return to positive cash flow in the first half of 2021, optimistic that air travel will recover over the year 2021, after the approval of Coronavirus vaccines, and the start of their worldwide distribution.
As Clark said, the entire Gulf carrier’s fleet of Airbus A380 jumbo jets will fly by the first quarter of 2022.
Semi-annual financial results
The semi-annual financial results for the year (2020/2021) showed that the company’s revenues reached about 11.7 billion dirhams ($3.2 billion), down 75%.
The results also showed a loss of 12.6 billion dirhams ($3.4 billion), compared to a profit of 862 million dirhams ($235 million) last year, and shipping operations recorded a strong contribution to the revenues.
Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, CEO of Emirates airline, commented: “We have started our current fiscal year with a global shutdown that has completely paralyzed air travel.”
“Due to these unprecedented conditions that afflicted the aviation and travel sector, Emirates recorded semi-annual losses for the first time in more than 30 years,” he said.
He pointed out that with “the suspension of travel traffic, Emirates airline and Dnata [Dubai National Air Travel Agency] were able to quickly transform to serve the demand for goods and other opportunities, and this helped us restore our revenues from zero to 26% of what it was in the same period last year.”