Emirates says annual profit surged 56% to $1.9 bn

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Dubai (AFP)

Dubai's Emirates airline said on Tuesday its profit surged by 56 percent last year to $1.9 billion, as passenger numbers grew and fuel bills dropped.

Emirates said however that its revenues dropped four percent to $23.2 billion, mainly as a result of a strong US dollar against currencies in most of its markets.

The largest Middle East carrier said it carried 51.9 million passengers in the financial year 2015-16, up eight percent from the year before.

Emirates chief executive officer Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum hailed a 28th consecutive year of profit for the Gulf carrier, but told reporters that a strong dollar to which the UAE dirham is pegged "will continue to be a challenge."

In a statement to the press, he spoke of an "unfavourable currency situation which eroded our revenues and profits."

He also spoke of "weak consumer confidence and investor sentiment," highlighting a negative impact from record low oil prices on global business.

"We expect that the low oil prices will continue to be a double-edged sword -- a boon for our operating costs, but a bane for global business and consumer confidence," he said.