Emirates has slumped to a loss of $3.4 billion for the first half of the financial year, with the Covid-19 pandemic bringing air travel to “a literal standstill” earlier this year.

The loss compares to a profit of $235 million for the same period last year, with the carrier’s revenue down 75 per cent.

The Emirates Group as a whole posted a net first half loss of $3.8 billion, with cargo demand the only bright spot, helping the airline to “recover our revenues from zero to 26 per cent of our position same time last year”.

“We began our current financial year amid a global lockdown when air passenger traffic was at a literal standstill,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group .

“In this unprecedented situation for the aviation and travel industry, the Emirates Group recorded a half-year loss for the first time in over 30 years.”

“We have been able to tap on our own strong cash reserves, and through our shareholder and the broader financial community, we continue to ensure we have access to sufficient funding to sustain the business and see us through this challenging period.

“In the first half of 2020-21, our shareholder injected US$ 2 billion into Emirates by way of an equity investment and they will support us on our recovery path.”

The group said it had reduced its employee base by 24 per cent compared to March 31, 2020, “in line with the company’s expected capacity and business activities in the foreseeable future and general industry outlook”.

Following the suspension of all passenger flights on March 25, the carrier has gradually reinstated routes, reaching a network of passenger and cargo services to 104 cities by the end of September.

Emirates carried a total of 1.5 million passengers between April 1 and September 30, down a staggering 95 per cent on the same period in 2019.