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Aviation news roundup: 4 things to know from May 2019

Emirates released its annual earnings report revealing some disappointing figures, while Boeing finally address the 737 Max issue.

Emirates reported its 31st consecutive year of profitability Progress has been made on the Boeing 737 Max models Saudia enjoys traveler resurgence in a certain category

May has been an eventful month for Middle Eastern airlines, particularly Emirates.

Here is a recap of some of the most important highlights of the month.

Emirates releases earnings report for FY 2018

Earlier this month, aviation giant Emirates airlines announced the results from its earnings report for the fiscal year (FY) of 2018 ending 31 March 2019, noting its 31st consecutive year of profitability.

However, this profitability had taken a significant hit. Profits were down 69%, to AED 871 million ($237 million). Fuel costs were mostly to blame for this dip in performance, as well as a stronger dollar. 

However, the airline’s revenue increased by 6% to AED 97.9 billion ($26.7 billion), supported by steady passenger and cargo performance. 

“2018-19 has been tough, and our performance was not as strong as we would have liked,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, said. “Higher oil prices and the strengthened US dollar eroded our earnings, even as competition intensified in our key markets.”

Following the earnings report, Emirates stated that it will not be handing out employee bonuses. Also, its CCO (Chief Commercial Officer) of 6 years Thierry Antinori resigned.

Faulty Boeing 737 Max 8 software fix complete

Boeing has completed a software update for its faulty 737 Max 8 model, which was involved in two fatal crashes over a period of approximately 6 months. 

The Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 series, whose biggest customer in the UAE is flydubai, had been grounded internationally following the two crashes. 

As The Guardian reports, aviation regulators will have to confirm that Boeing’s new fix has truly solved the model’s issues, which has resulted in a total of 346 deaths to date. 

Saudia sees surge in transit travelers 

Saudi Arabian national carrier Saudia is reporting a significant increase in its number of transit passengers, Air Transport World (ATW) reported.  

“While not revealing actual figures, Saudia said that transit passenger numbers were up 115% in 2018 compared to 2017,” ATW reported. “The greatest growth in numbers of connecting passengers came from Europe and Asia-Pacific, both of which recorded leaps of 178%. North American-originating transit passengers rose by 154% while growth from other Middle East countries was 144%.”

“Saudia carried 34 million passengers in 2018 and, for the first time in its history, international passengers outnumbered those on domestic sectors, with just over 17 million being carried on international services,” ATW stated. 

Travel Industry ranked last of all industries, according to Brand Intimacy Study

The travel industry ranked last, #15 of 15 industries in MBLM’s 2019 Brand Intimacy Study, the largest study of brands based on emotion. This is down from the industry’s #10 rank in 2018. 

Brand Intimacy is defined as the emotional science that measures the bonds we form with the brands we use and love.

Star performer Emirates Airlines leads at #1 for the third year in a row, followed by Etihad (up from #4 to #2) and Turkish Airlines. Oman Air, Air Arabia, Saudia, Air India, Air France, Fly Dubai and IndiGo round out the Top 10, in that order.

The industry’s poor performance correlates with recent decline in financial performance. Statista shows that net profit of commercial airlines worldwide has declined. In 2017 global profits were $37.7 billion, compared to $32.5 billion in 2018.