The biggest Middle East airline Emirates, announced on Tuesday that its profit was up close to 56% to end its fiscal year at $1.9 billion, due in large part to the lower prices of oil that drove the cost of operating fuel way down.
The government owned Dubai airline said its revenue fell during its 2015-2016 fiscal year by 4% from just over $24.2 billion to $23.2 billion, mostly due to a stronger dollar in the U.S. that impacted the many markets that Emirates operates, including its base located in the United Arab Emirates is which the dirham is pegged with the U.S. dollar.
Tim Clark the Emirates President said that despite revenue dropping, the airline’s bill for fuel decreased to just over $5.4 billion for the entire year, which represented 26% of its costs of operating, compared to last year of 35%. Nevertheless, fuel remains the biggest single cost of the airline.
Clark said that the fall in revenue was well managed. It could have been far worse said Clark, who added that the airline was able to also save on supply costs.
The airline recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and has for 28 straight years posted a profit.
Emirates Group, the parent company, which includes the travel and ground travel services provider Dnata, posted a profit that climbed from last year’s $1.5 billion to $2.2 billion, though its revenue was down 3% to end the year at $25.3 billion.
The parent company has over 95,000 employees with over 61,000 working for its airline.
Emirates carried over 52 million passengers in its just completed fiscal year. That has helped its Dubai International Airport hub to claim the mantle of the busiest international airport in the world handling over 78 million foreign passengers in 2015.
The overall busiest airport in the world remains the Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
As well as Emirates, other carriers in the Gulf such as Etihad Airways based in Abu-Dhabi and Qatar Airways based in Doha have been increasingly challenging their Western rivals for flights that are long-haul.
U.S. carriers such as American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, have criticized the three biggest Gulf area carriers saying they have been expanding services aggressively into the U.S. while receiving subsidies that are unfair from their governments.
The airlines have pressed Congress to renegotiate treaties, which would allow Gulf airline to fly to the United States.
Emirates, Qatar and Etihad deny they have been subsidized. Emirates, which flies into 10 cities in the U.S., has made it clear that it wants to expand its U.S. service.