Emirates SkyCargo saw its volumes continue to recover in the 2021/2022 financial year while revenues continued to beat pre-Covid levels.
For the 12 months ending March 31, Emirates SkyCargo saw its revenues increase by 26.6% year on year to AED21.6bn, which was also higher than the AED13.1bn registered in pre-pandemic financial year 2018/2019.
Cargo volumes also improved year on year, increasing by 14.2% to 2.1m tonnes. However, this lags behind the 2.7m tonnes the airline carried in 2018/2019.
The improvements come as the airline’s passenger network continues to recover and the air cargo market also had a strong year in 2021.
“Our cargo business continued to perform strongly, contributing 37% to overall Emirates revenue even with the ongoing pandemic-disruptions to global logistics and supply chains,” the Emirates Group said.
“By June 30 2021, our cargo division had restored services to over 90% of our pre-pandemic network.”
The airline said that there had been robust demand for essential goods and medical supplies, accelerated vaccination programmes, and global supply chain issues making air cargo popular.
“We helped keep vital trade lanes open and moved essential items across the world including food and fresh products, e-commerce and other high-value goods.
“Emirates SkyCargo also continued to play an important role in ensuring communities get rapid access to vaccines and other medical supplies. By March 2022, we had transported 1bn doses of Covid-19 vaccines.”
Revenue from transport of pharmaceutical products crossed AED2bn mark for the first time in SkyCargo’s history and by the end of the year it had transported more than 1bn doses of Covid-19 vaccines mainly originating from Brussels, Johannesburg, Amsterdam, Chicago and Hyderabad.
SkyCargo facilitated movement of 260,000 tonnes of perishables this year from various agricultural markets including India, Kenya, Norway, Ecuador and Pakistan, an increase of 10% year on year.
The charter business “also remained strong amidst supply chain disruptions” and its charter business for the year was more than three times the pre-pandemic level.
The carrier operated 137 charters of rubber products, 135 charters of Covid-related essential vaccines and eight horse charters for the Tokyo Olympics.
In terms of fleet, the carrier’s freighter fleet was reduced from 11 B777 freighters to 10 B777 freighters.
However, during the year, the carrier has invested in extra freighter capacity; In November, Emirates announced a $1bn investment to acquire two new Boeing 777 freighters and convert four of its existing 777-300ER aircraft into freighters.
As passenger travel ramped up, belly capacity also increased resulting in scheduled operations contributing 59% (2020-21: 38%) of overall cargo tonnage carried this year. A reduction was noted in cargo tonnage for freighter operations due to an aircraft retirement and shift of volumes towards scheduled operations.
While it was a good year for the cargo business, it was another recovery year for the overall airline. Emirates generated a loss of AED3.9bn but this was a considerable improvement on the previous year’s deficit of more than AED20bn, and the airline was profitable in the second half with a surplus of AED1.9bn.