Emirates Group has posted its annual report, with profits down 70 per cent to US$670 million.

The group said that its 29th consecutive year of profit was achieved “despite a turbulent year for aviation and travel”.

The Emirates airline division reported a record 56.1 million passengers over the year (up 8 per cent) – load factor was 75.1 per cent (down from 76.5 per cent the previous year), although the carrier said that this was “relative to the strong 10 per cent increase in seat capacity by Available Seat Kilometres (ASKMs), and also in part due to lingering economic uncertainty and strong competition in many markets”.

The group also said that “The relentless rise of the US dollar against currencies in most of Emirates’ key markets had an AED 2.1 billion (US$ 572 million) impact on airline revenue, and to the airline’s bottom line”.

A total of 35 new aircraft were delivered during the financial year (19 A380s and 16 B777-300ERs), with 27 older aircraft being retired, and Emirates moved to an all-A380 and B777 fleet.

The carrier also launched six new passengers destinations over the period – Fort Lauderdale, Hanoi, Newark, Yangon, Yinchuan and Zhengzhou.

Emirates recently cuts frequencies on five of its 12 US routes, and announcing the results the group’s Chairman and Chief Executive His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said Emirates had had to to weather “destabilising events which have impacted travel demand during the year – from the Brexit vote to Europe’s immigration challenges and terror attacks, from the new policies impacting air travel into the US, to currency devaluation and funds repatriation issues in parts of Africa, and the continued knock-on effect of a sluggish oil and gas industry on business confidence and travel demand”.

“We remain optimistic for the future of our industry, although we expect the year ahead to remain challenging with hyper competition squeezing airline yields, and volatility in many markets impacting travel flows and demand,” said Sheikh Ahmed.