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Emirates, the world’s largest airline by international traffic, said it will remain profitable this year and stick with an expansion strategy even as high jet-fuel prices and fluctuations in the value of the euro clip earnings.
“We’re monitoring currencies and the oil price but we don’t intend to change our growth strategy,” executive vice-president for passenger sales Thierry Antinori said in an interview. “Emirates was profitable for the last 24 years and I don’t know anybody in the company not having the same target this year.”
Dubai-based Emirates said May 10 that net income fell 61 percent to 2.31 billion dirhams ($630 million) in the 12 months ended March 31, without providing an outlook for the current fiscal year. The carrier will add 31 new jets and 200 pilots in 2012 as it targets fresh markets, Antinori said today in Lisbon, where it will commence flights from its Gulf hub on July 9.
“We’re not using the crisis to save on the product,” the executive said. “Emirates is successful because we have one of the most modern fleets in the world.”
Emirates, which serves 123 destinations, will continue with its strategy of shunning the three global airline alliances and has no acquisition plans, Antinori said.
That would rule out a bid for Portugal’s TAP SGPS SA, which the government plans to sell this year to raise funds under the terms of a 78 billion-euro ($98 billion) bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
“We’re not interested in the acquisition of stakes in airlines,” Antinori said. “Our strategy relies on organic growth by the acquisition of planes, not airlines.”
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