Despite the uncertainty surrounding the civil unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, airlines in the country are expanding relentlessly and, more importantly, profitably.
Impact of political unrest in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria had been marginal.
Emirates Airline’s revenues grew by 25 per cent from last year to reach Dh54.4 billion. Airline profits of Dh5.4 billion marked an increase of 51.9 per cent over 2009-10’s profits of Dh3.5 billion.
This profit comes despite suspending daily flights to the Libyan capital Tripoli.
Emirates, however, continues operating five weekly flights to and from Yemeni capital Sana’a.
“With political instability in parts of the Middle East and North Africa region Emirates has been able to swiftly adjust flight schedules, redeploying aircraft to balance the network and optimise revenue,” said an Emirates spokesperson.
Etihad also recently declared its first quarterly operating profit in 1Q2011.
Etihad Airways has reported a 29.2% rise in revenues in 2010 to US$2,951 million.
The result marked continued progress towards the airlines goal of break-even in 2011 and profitability in 2012. Passenger numbers topped seven million for the first time.
However, IATA has halved its forecast for airline industry net profits in 2011 to $4 billion. A drop of 78 per cent compared with the $18 billion net profit recorded in 2010. A 54 per cent fall compared with the $8.6 billion profit forecast in March this year.
“Natural disasters in Japan, unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, plus the sharp rise in oil prices have slashed industry profit expectations to $4 billion this year,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO. Passenger and cargo demand also seen to be weaker than previous estimates.
High fuel coats will weaken some demand from key passenger segments. Asset utilisation will be under downward pressure. Capacity growth or deployment of more planes of 15.5 per cent is expected to outstrip demand expansion of 14.6 per cent.
According to IATA Middle East carriers will deliver an estimated $100 million profit in 2011.
Demand for air travel surged to 12.1 per cent increase in the international market.