* Airline profit up 43 pct, group profit up 32 pct
* Dubai airport maintenance to cost it 1 bln dirhams
* Average seat occupancy 79.4 pct
(Adds detail, context)
DUBAI, May 8 Emirates, Dubai's
flagship airline, reported a 43 percent jump in 2013 net profit
on Thursday helped by higher revenue and lower fuel costs
although runway maintenance work will impact income this year.
The world's fourth carrier of international passengers
posted a profit of 3.3 billion dirhams ($898.4 million) for the
year to March 31 up from 2.3 billion a year earlier, it said in
The world's biggest customer of the Airbus A380 superjumbo
said profit for the wider Emirates Group, which includes airline
services arm Dnata, rose 32 percent to 4.1 billion dirhams.
"It's been a good year. There was growth in our business all
round and fuel costs fell by about 4 percent last year, which
helped," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of
Emirates, told a news conference.
Revenue grew 13 percent at both the airline and group level,
to 82.6 billion dirhams and 87.8 billion dirhams, respectively.
Sheikh Ahmed warned that upgrade work at Dubai International
Airport would mean the airline would lose 1 billion dirhams of
revenue in 2014.
This reiterates an estimate the airline's president, Tim
Clark, gave last month. Dubai plans around 80 days of work to
upgrade and refurbish the airport's two runways, starting in
Emirates and its home base Dubai are betting that its
location - a third of the world's population is within a 4-hour
flight radius - will continue to attract passenger traffic away
from hubs such as London, New York and Singapore.
The carrier, along with other regional giants Qatar Airways
and Etihad Airways, are aggressively expanding, drawing the ire
of European counterparts who complain Gulf airlines receive
preferential treatment from their governments.
"Our competition continues to lobby governments to pressure
us. We just have to stay ahead of the others, which is why we
are investing so much into our businesses," Sheikh Ahmed said,
adding Emirates invested 22 billion dirhams into its business
Seat occupancy, or seat factor, averaged 79.4 percent, the
airline said, describing this as "nearly consistent" with the
previous year despite a 15-percent increase in seat capacity
measured by available seat kilometres.
Emirates paid a dividend of around 1 billion dirhams to
Investment Corporation of Dubai, the state investment vehicle
which owns stakes in a host of Dubai companies. This was broadly
in line with the figure for 2012, Emirates said.
($1 = 3.6730 UAE Dirhams)
(Reporting by Praveen Menon; writing by David French; editing
by Matt Smith and Jason Neely)