Qatar Airways on Tuesday said it suffered net losses during the fiscal year ended 31 March, but said its overall revenue and other operating income grew 7.22% from a year ago.
Net Losses reached QAR 251.59 million during FY 17/18, compared to QAR 2.79 billion in the same period of the prior year.
The airline attributed the negative results to the blockade imposed on Qatar by several countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain since 5 June 2017.
The blockade resulted in a 19% drop in departing seats.
Since 5 June 2017, Qatar has been facing outflows of foreign customers’ deposits after the four Arab countries cut their diplomatic and trade ties with the gas-rich state, accusing Qatar of financing terrorism. Doha forcefully denied these charges.
“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,” Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, highlighted.
The Group’s EBITDAR Margin dropped 23% year-on-year to QAR 9.71 billion over the last fiscal year due to longer flying time resulting from the illegal blockade and loss of departing seats.
Meanwhile, operating income rose 17.8% to QAR 43.25 billion over the last fiscal year, against QAR 36.74 billion in the same period the year before.
The company’s total assets grew 4.4% year-on-year to QAR 104.03 billion.
“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 neighboring countries may have hoped for,” Al Baker added.
According to the statement, the airline has launched 14 new destinations during the fiscal year, replacing 18 mature routes, which were closed due to the blockade.
Ten weeks after the Arab rift, the Qatari carrier opened new destinations to Sohar, Prague, and Kyiv among others to soften the impact of being cut off from 18 regional gateways.
During the fiscal year, Qatar Airways continued apace with the expansion of its investment portfolio to include an initial 9.94% stake in Cathay Pacific, which has since increased to 9.99%, as well as a 49% stake in AQA Holding, which was re-launched as Air Italy in February 2018.