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Sheikh Mohammed praises Emirates Airlines’ contribution to Dubai economic success

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has affirmed that the Emirates Group actively contributes to Dubai’s economic success and is central to its future growth and prosperity.

Sheikh Mohammed added that he is confident that the Group would continue its role as a world leading organisation in shaping the future of global aviation, while also furthering the UAE’s vision and aspirations.

In his speech to the Emirates Group 2020/2021, Sheikh Mohammed said: “The COVID-19 pandemic represented one of the greatest challenges faced by humanity throughout history, and caused an unprecedented state of confusion throughout the world and at all levels, but it was a cause of reaching a degree of unimaginable flexibility in dealing with the consequences.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges humanity has faced in its known history. Nevertheless, while it has caused unprecedented disruptions to our lives, it has also summoned extraordinary resilience across the world. “The UAE’s fight against the pandemic has particularly been a story of strength, fortitude and endurance.

“We have been tested in our ability to deal with this unforeseen situation, but we have emerged out of it tougher. In many ways, the UAE has proved to be one of best prepared countries to deal with this pandemic.

“Not only have we effectively safeguarded the health and wellbeing of citizens and residents, we have also weathered the economic impact of the crisis. The investments we made over the last few decades to create a world-leading infrastructure, thanks to the vision of our founding fathers, combined with our robust institutions and public services, have enabled us to counter the COVID-19 challenge,” he added.

Sheikh Mohammed went on to say: “What has been truly remarkable is the way all stakeholders in our society and economy have come together to mobilise the efforts and resources needed to combat the pandemic. The joint efforts of the public and private sectors in mounting a strong healthcare response is one of the examples of this spirit of solidarity.

“Consistent with this spirit, the Dubai government has placed a high priority on extending support measures to businesses to ensure the short-term impact of the pandemic does not translate into long-term challenges. Going ahead, we continue to remain committed to helping all sectors in recovering on a solid footing.

“Amidst the pandemic, our model for finding solutions to challenges has been marked by cooperation, humanitarian values and rapid action. The response of Dubai’s aviation and logistics industry leaders to the disruption caused by COVID-19 is a key example of our nation’s ability to rise to the challenge in these testing times. Working unitedly, they have been quick to use their global capabilities not only to facilitate the rapid distribution of vaccines in the country but also send relief and humanitarian aid to developing nations,” he added.

As far as the aviation sector is concerned, Sheikh Mohammed said: “Aviation is indeed vital to Dubai’s vision to be a pivotal economic hub for the world. The Emirates Group actively contributes to Dubai’s economic success and is central to our future growth and prosperity. I am confident the Group will continue its role as a world leading organisation shaping the future of global aviation, while also furthering the UAE’s vision and aspirations.”

Sheikh Mohammed concluded: “The UAE will mark 50 years of nationhood in December 2021. Growing from a modest regional trading post to a nation that sent the Arab world’s first space mission to Mars, the UAE’s development has been truly extraordinary. I look forward to our country achieving greater successes and accelerating our progress on the ambitious path set by our founding leaders. Their vision to drive human advancement and create a better world for future generations continues to inspire us.”  

Released on Tuesday in its 2020-21 Annual Report, the Emirates Group posted a loss of Dhs22.1 billion ($6.0 billion) for the financial year ended March 31, 2021 compared with Dhs1.7 billion ($456 million) profit for last year.

The Group’s revenue was Dhs35.6 billion ($ 9.7 billion), a decline of 66% over last year’s results. The Group’s cash balance was Dhs19.8 billion ($5.4 billion), down 23% from last year mainly due to weak demand caused by the various pandemic-related business and travel restrictions across all of the Group’s core business divisions and markets.

Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a tremendous toll on human lives, communities, economies, and on the aviation and travel industry. In 2020-21, Emirates and dnata were hit hard by the drop in demand for international air travel as countries closed their borders and imposed stringent travel restrictions.

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