"We've had yet another successful year for the company, and the 17th consecutive profitable one for the airline," Emirates Chairman Shaikh Ahmad bin Sayid al-Maktum said in a statement on Wednesday.

  

The cash balance of the group, which comprises Emirates Airline, Dnata and associated companies, stood at 8.2 billion dirhams ($2.2 billion), up 12% on the previous year.

  

The ownership will be paid a dividend of 368 million dirhams ($100 million).

  

Emirates Airline, which alone recorded profits of 2.3 billion dirhams ($626 million), carried 12.5 million passengers in the last financial year.

 

Freight

 

"Since we started the airline in 1985, our competitors seem to find it incomprehensible that we can make profits"

Shaikh Ahmad bin Sayid
al-Maktum,
Emirates Chairman

Emirates SkyCargo carried nearly 840,000 tonnes of freight, 27% more than in 2003-2004. The division's revenue rose 43% to 3.4 billion dirhams ($926 million), contributing up to 21% of the airline's transport turnover.

  

Dnata profits were recorded at 260 million dirhams ($71 million).

  

"We are gratified by the strong financial results of the group. The rapid-growth Emirates business model requires a high rate of return to sustain our enormous investments in people, advanced equipment and facilities, as well as in IT and other support services," Ahmad said.

  

The net profit figure for the group in 2003-2004 was 1.75 billion dirhams ($476 million).

 

Globally, airlines faced massive
losses due to hike in fuel prices

"Since we started the airline in 1985, our competitors seem to find it incomprehensible that we can make profits by having a skilful team which works hard, is a market leader and invests heavily in new equipment - surely the criteria for any successful company?" Ahmad said.

 

World trend

  

Emirates has been bucking the world trend. Earlier this month the main industry association warned that major airlines face greater losses than last year because of the surge in oil prices.

  

Total losses in the airline industry reached $4.8 billion in 2004 as the fuel bill rose, according to IATA.

  

But Emirates has expanded its fleet by nine aircraft to 75 during the latest financial year, including 70 passenger aircraft and six freighters.