Qatar Airways sees revenue increase despite political blockade

Following what the airline is calling the “most challenging year” in its 20-year history, Qatar Airways has reported revenue and other operating income grew 7.22 per cent over the past 12 months.

Capacity, as measured in available seat kilometres, grew by 9.96 per cent.

The lower revenue growth was directly attributable to the blockade of Qatar from June 2017, the airline said.

The blockade impacted departing seats by 19 per cent.

The group generated an EBITDAR margin of 23 per cent at QAR9.714 billion.

EBITDAR was lower than the previous year by QAR1.759 billion due to longer flying time resulting from the illegal blockade and loss of departing seats from the blockading countries. 

Replacing 18 mature routes, which were closed due to the blockade, the airline opened 14 new destinations during the fiscal year (24 new destinations to date).

New destinations come with launch costs and the necessity to establish market presence, which resulted in an overall net loss of QAR252 million.

With a positive operating cash inflow, the cash position of the Group remained strong at QAR13.312 billion.

Qatar Airways chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “This turbulent year has inevitably had an impact on our financial results, which reflect the negative effect the illegal blockade has had on our airline.

“However, I am pleased to say that thanks to our robust business planning, swift actions in the face of the crisis, our passenger-focused solutions and dedicated staff, the impact has been minimised – and has certainly not been as negative as our neighbouring countries may have hoped for.”

During the financial year, Qatar Airways Group also continued apace with the expansion of its investment portfolio to include an initial 9.94 per cent stake in Cathay Pacific, which has since increased to 9.99 per cent, as well as a 49 per cent share of AQA Holding, the parent company of Meridiana fly, which was relaunched as Air Italy in February 2018.

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