Dubai-based Emirates airline on Thursday posted a $3.4 billion half-year loss, its first in more than three decades, saying it had been badly hit by the coronavirus lockdown that brought air transport to “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,” the airline’s chairman and chief executive, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement.
The airline, which was forced to temporarily suspend operations earlier this year before building back its vast network, saw revenue fall 75 percent to $3.2 billion.
Over the half-year to September, it carried just 1.5 million passengers, down 95 percent from the same period last year.
The carrier, the Middle East’s largest, said that its bottom line found some support with a “strong cargo business” as it repurposed its fleet to accommodate the need for supplies around the globe, including medical equipment.
“As passenger traffic disappeared, Emirates and (air services arm) dnata have been able to rapidly pivot to serve cargo demand and other pockets of opportunity,” Sheikh Ahmed said.
“This has helped us recover our revenues from zero to 26% of our position same time last year.”