Qatar's headline net profit of $1.21 billion is surprising. It's so surprising that we're wondering if there's some caveat we're missing.
Qatar Airways late on Wednesday reported a record annual revenue of 76.3 billion riyals ($21 billion), underpinned by a higher customer base after the Doha-based carrier hosted the FIFA World Cup as its official partner and airline.
Net profit for the fiscal year 2022-2023 stood at 4.4 billion riyals ($1.21 billion), the company said in a statement, when the airlines carried 31.7 million passengers, a 71% jump year-on-year.
The airline recorded a load factor of 80% and yields, both the highest in the company’s history.
During the World Cup, Qatar Airways operated about 14,000 flights, bringing more than 1.4 million fans to the Arab country.
The airline could expand its number of destinations by more than 255 from 170 under plans for rapid growth, CEO Akbar Al Baker said in May, but its ability to do so depends on the delivery of additional aircraft.
Airbus had in March reinstated an order for 73 aircraft from Qatar Airways, which it had revoked during a major legal dispute over damage to the surface of grounded A350s.
The airline and planemaker settled the dispute in February, and Al Baker said he expected to begin receiving the aircraft in the “not too distant future.”
Qatar Airways is also experiencing delayed delivery of Boeing 787 and 777X planes, Al Baker added. He said the 787 delays had been caused by “unnecessary” concerns raised by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Gulf analysts say the small peninsula state faces stiff competition from neighboring Dubai, an international tourist destination, as well as from Saudi Arabia as the kingdom opens up and invests heavily in tourism and entertainment.
(Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Varun H K)
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Photo credit: Qatar Airways benefited from the World Cup's added demand. Md Shaifuzzaman Ayon / Wikimedia Commons