He also noted that the continued ability to attract and retain the best talent for the company’s growing requirements will be one of the Group’s biggest challenges.
He said: “As we plan for the next decade, our biggest challenges will be to find more pilots, engineers, cabin crew and skilled staff across our various business units. Fortunately, Emirates has thus far been a strong employer brand, with more than three million unique visitors browsing job opportunities on our online recruitment website last year, from which we received over 288,000 applications for positions within the Group. Being based in Dubai also has its advantages as the city itself is already preparing to welcome 15 million visitors by 2010 and there is massive investment in infrastructure to serve and attract the increasing number of expatriates.”
He also reiterated the Emirates Group’s support for Dubai’s new low cost airline which has been established as a separate entity from the Emirates Group; and remarked on competition in the region, saying: “This is a big cake and admittedly, Emirates has a big slice of it, but there is plenty for the other airlines and we welcome them to the region.”
Sheikh Ahmed concluded: “The Group’s excellent performance this year is very satisfactory. As with previous years, we do not intend to rest on our laurels. We plan to secure our future growth by investing in the latest technology and products, so that we can continue to provide our customers with the high quality experience that they have come to expect from us.”
Emirates Airline’s revenues totaled US$ 10.8 billion, an increase of 32.3 percent from US$ 8.1 billion the previous year. Airline profits of US$ 1.37 billion marked a 62.1 percent increase over 2006-07’s record profits of US$ 844 million.
This result was due to improved yields and higher load factors on increased capacity, as well as other operating gains.
In 2007-08, the airline’s fleet expanded with 11 new Boeing 777s delivered, including Emirates’ first 777-200LR passenger aircraft. At the end of the financial year Emirates’ fleet reached 114 aircraft, including 10 freighters, boasting an average age of 67 months – one of the youngest commercial fleets in the skies.
The record aircraft order at the 2007 Dubai Air Show brings Emirates’ total order book, excluding options, to 182 aircraft at the end of March 2008, worth approximately US$ 58 billion.
During the year, the airline launched passenger services to seven new destinations – Houston, Newcastle, Venice, Sao Paulo, Ahmedabad, Toronto, and Cape Town - and strengthened its existing network by adding services onto existing routes most notably to high-demand cities in China, India, Middle East and Africa.
In the United States, Emirates currently operates two daily non-stop flights from New York’s JFK, the above-mentioned daily flight from Houston, and is set to start service from Los Angeles on September 1st and from San Francisco on October 26th.
Passenger seat factor increased to 79.8 percent from 76.2 percent the previous year. Traffic increased faster by 16.6 percent to 14,739 million tonne kilometers as compared to the capacity increase of 13.7 percent to 22,078 million tonne kilometers. While yield improved for the sixth consecutive year to 64 US cents per RTKM (Revenue Tonne Kilometre), up from 59 US cents in 2006-07; high jet fuel prices and rising costs drove breakeven load factor up to 62.7 percent from 59.9 percent last year.
Emirates continued to enhance its products in the air and on the ground, completing the refurbishment of four Boeing 777 classic aircraft with its new First, Business and Economy Class seats, as well as the latest ice in-flight entertainment system with 1,000 channels on-demand.