Revenues up and operating cost down – this airline clearly does not need subsidies


(Posted 11th July 2016)

Qatar Airways Group just announced a 3 billion QAR operating profit for its fiscal year 2016 – nearly three times greater than fiscal 2015 profit of 1.1 billion QAR, resulting in an 8.6 per cent operating profit margin, an improvement of nearly six percentage points from the prior year, from 35.6 billion QAR in revenues. The company reported a net profit of 1.6 billion QAR, resulting in a net profit margin of 4.5 per cent. Net profit for fiscal 2015 was 1.1 per cent, at 374 million QAR.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said when making the announcement: ‘Qatar Airways continues to lead the industry in all aspects of the business, from our strong financial performance to our award-winning on board product. Our fiscal 2016 year was the best yet for Qatar Airways Group, and our results reflect the discipline and dedication of the more than 39,369 men and women who proudly represent our airline and its associated brands‘.

For the year ending March 31, 2016, did the Qatar Airways Group also reduce its expenses by 1.5 per cent and increased its cash and bank balance from 5.5 billion QAR to 12 billion QAR, despite the significant growth in operations and an adverse movement in foreign currency exchange. Over the course of fiscal 2016, Qatar Airways added 13 new destinations and increased its overall network to more than 150 destinations on six continents. The airline was also the global launch customer of the Airbus A350XWB a year and a half ago, the most technologically advanced aircraft in the world, and was the first commercial airline to fly it to the United States. Three continents are now served with the A350: North America, Europe and Asia.

In addition did the airline celebrate the delivery of its 25th Boeing Dreamliner, and now operates a fleet of 29 Boeing 787s. Celebrating another milestone in the fleet, the airline celebrated the delivery of its 50th Boeing 777, the backbone of its international network.

Qatar Airways launched flights to a number of high profile destinations during its fiscal year 2016, including daily flights to Los Angeles in the United States and Sydney in Australia, further strengthening our overall route network relevancy to travellers world-wide. The airline’s connectivity to the United Kingdom also increased to 73 weekly flights with the addition of Birmingham, QR’s fourth United Kingdom destination.

The destinations Qatar Airways added during the 2016 fiscal year were Abha, Amsterdam, Birmingham, Boston, Durban, Faisalabad, Los Angeles, Multan, Nagpur, Ras Al Khaimah, Sialkot, Sydney, and Zanzibar. Closer to home, the Doha-Dubai Shuttle was introduced, the first-of-its-kind flying between the two cities, a customised service responsive to the specific needs of this high traffic load corridor.

For the 2017 fiscal year does Qatar Airways plans to launch 17 new destinations with services to Adelaide, Atlanta, Marrakech and Yerevan already begun.

Still to launch are Auckland, which will be the world’s longest passenger flight, New Zealand; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Douala, Cameroon; Helsinki, Finland; Krabi, Thailand; Libreville, Gabon; Lusaka, Zambia; Nice, France; Pisa, Italy; Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Mahe, Seychelles; Skopje, Macedonia; and Windhoek, Namibia.

It is more than obvious now with such figures published that allegations made by the American legacy carriers about state subsidies are grossly inaccurate and misleading. American, Delta and United have repeatedly alleged that the main Gulf carriers like Emirates, Etihad and of course Qatar Airways had unfair market advantages through government subsidies, but all three carriers have since voided these arguments by providing balance sheet information which indicates that the airlines in fact made record profits instead of being subsidised to survive.

In Eastern Africa does Qatar Airways fly to Entebbe and Kigali once a day, while Nairobi and Dar es Salaam are served twice a day, the latter also in conjunction with Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. Elsewhere in Eastern Africa does Qatar Airways fly to Asmara, Djibouti and Addis Ababa.

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