Emirates airline posts $5.5 bn annual loss, first in over 30 years

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An Emirates Airlines Boing 777 plane unloads a coronavirus vaccine shipment at Dubai International Airport in this picture taken on February 1, 2021

Dubai-based Emirates airline on Tuesday posted a $5.5 billion annual loss, its first in more than three decades, after the coronavirus pandemic devastated the aviation industry.

"Due to ongoing pandemic-related flight and travel restrictions, the airline reported a loss of 20.3 billion dirhams ($5.5 billion) after last year's 1.1 billion dirhams ($288 million) profit," the Middle East's largest carrier said in a statement.

The airline, which was forced to temporarily suspend operations last year, saw revenue fall 66 percent to $8.4 billion.

Over the fiscal year, which ends in March, Emirates carried 6.6 million passengers, down 88 percent from the same period in the previous year.

"The Covid-19 pandemic continues to take a tremendous toll on human lives, communities, economies, and on the aviation and travel industry," the airline's chairman and chief executive, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said in a statement.

He added that the Emirates group was "hit hard by the drop in demand for international air travel as countries closed their borders and imposed stringent travel restrictions".

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