Revenue from dnata’s travel services division saw a turnaround after last year’s decline with an increase of 8% to $922 million in the 12 months to March.

The underlying total transaction value of travel services sold by the Emirates Group arm rose by 6% to $3.1 billion.

The “solid performance” was supported by dnata’s ability to tap into an upswing in both inbound and outbound tourism demand in the Middle East, and a healthy increase in long-haul travel and cruise bookings in Europe and Australia.

The company’s UK-based Imagine Cruising business, completed a successful first year of trading in Australia, and acquired Holiday Planet, a leading travel company in Perth to boost growth in the country.

Dnata also completed its acquisition of a stake in Destination Asia, a leading destination management company with operations across 11 Asian countries, making its entry into South East Asia’s inbound travel market.

Investment in technology during the year was made to provide enhanced functionality and a better service for its partners and customers.

This included the creation of two travel reservation systems for Emirates Holidays and dnata Travel’s B2B business, to replace existing ones.

The travel services division’s performance helped dnata make a record annual profit of $359 million.

Overall revenue of $3.6 billion reflected further business expansion, with international business now accounting for 68% of the total.

The figures emerged as the Dubai-based Emirates Group reported a profit of $1.1 billion for the financial year ended March 31, up 67% from the previous year.

Group revenue reached $27.9.billion, an increase of 8% year-on-year.
Emirates Airline saw profits more than double to $762 million as passenger numbers rose by 4% to 58.5 million.

“Overall passenger traffic growth continues to demonstrate the consumer desire to fly on Emirates’ state-of-the-art aircraft, and via efficient routings through its Dubai hub,” the group said..

Emirates Airline and Group chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “Business conditions in 2017-18, while improved, remained tough.

“We saw ongoing political instability, currency volatility and devaluations in Africa, rising oil prices which drove our costs up, and downward pressure on margins from relentless competition.

“On the positive side, we benefited from a healthy recovery in the global air cargo industry, as well as the relative strengthening of key currencies against the US dollar.

“We’ve always responded to the challenges of each business cycle with agility, while never losing sight of the future, and this year was no exception.

“In 2017-18, Emirates and dnata delivered our 30th consecutive year of profit, recorded growth across the business, and continued to invest in initiatives and infrastructure that will secure our future success.”

He added: “Looking ahead, Emirates and dnata remain focussed on delivering safe, efficient and high quality services consistently to our customers.

“Our ongoing investments in our people, technology, and infrastructure will help us maintain our competitive edge, and ensure that we are ready to meet the opportunities and stay on course for sustainable and profitable growth.”