Emirates director resigns as SkyCargo growth flatlines amid ‘tough’ market

Emirates Group chairman Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum says market conditions for 12 months to April were ‘tough’ for region’s largest air freight operator
Emirates skycargo, Air cargo, Air freight


Emirates SkyCargo saw marginal growth over the 12 months to April, compared with the strong performance in 2017, according to Emirates Group financial results published last week.

Volumes climbed just 1.4%, to 2.6-million tonnes, reflecting a general malaise for the regional and global air cargo sector.

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Despite the weak volume performance, SkyCargo revenue grew a comparatively strong 5% to AED13bn ($3.5-billion), accounting for more than 14% of Emirates Group’s total revenues.

While the carrier does not provide a breakdown of its cargo division’s profitability, overall group profits fell 25.7% to AED3.9-billion.

Emirates airline’s chief commercial officer Thierry Antinori resigned from his position, the airline confirmed a few days after the results release.

Antinori, the executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Emirates, managed commercial operations and products, Emirates Skywards and Emirates Skycargo.

The airline has appointed Adnan Kazim, divisional senior vice president, Strategic Planning, Revenue Optimisation and Aeropolitical Affairs as the acting chief commercial officer.

It was unclear from Emirates Group’s announcement whether Antinori’s resignation was directly linked to the group’s poor performance.

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Emirates Group chief executive HH Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum described the 12 month period to April as “tough”, adding that the carrier had not performed “as strongly as we would have liked”.

“Higher oil prices and the strengthened US dollar eroded our earnings, even as competition intensified in our key markets,” he said. “The uptick in global airfreight demand from the previous year appears to have gone into reverse gear.”

While full-year figures were not as strong as the carrier may have liked, the decline in profitability was markedly better than where it stood six months ago.

First-half group profits slipped 53% year on year, with cargo volumes registering a decline of 1% even as capacity rose 3%.

“Every business cycle is different, and we continue to work smart and hard to tackle the challenges and take advantage of opportunities,” said Al Maktoum.

“Our goal has always been to build a profitable, sustainable, and responsible business and these principles continue to guide our decisions and investments,” he added.

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