Qatar Airways has reported a sharp uptick in annual revenues to QR52.3 billion ($14.4 billion), as it continues to rebuild passenger numbers and capacity after the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The figure for the year to March 31, 2022 marks a 78% rise on the year before and is also slightly higher than the QR51.1 billion figure it recorded in 2019/20.
The results offer further confirmation of the healthy pace of recovery by Middle East airlines, following upbeat results from the likes of FlyDubai, Turkish Airlines and Air Arabia in recent weeks.
Qatar Airways carried some 18.5 million passengers during the year – almost four times as many as in 2020/21, but still 43% below the pre-pandemic peak or 32.3 million.
There has been a similar story in other elements of the business, including in passenger capacity and staff numbers.
Available seat kilometres (a standard industry metric which measures the number of passengers an airline can carry) reached 160 billion in 2021/22, up 71% year-on-year but still far below the pre-Covid peak of 238 billion.
Staff numbers also remain well below their peak, with 41,000 staff as of March 2022, compared to a high of more than 50,000 before Covid struck.
However, the airline has seen demand for cargo traffic continue its unbroken rise, with more than 3m tonnes carried for the first time last year.
The improvement in its fortunes meant the airline booked its highest-ever net profit of QR5.6 billion for fiscal 2022, compared to a net loss of QR14.9 billion the year before.
Speaking on the release of the results, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said “We have pursued every business opportunity and left no stone unturned as we aimed to meet our targets.”
The airline can look ahead to a busy period, with the football World Cup taking place in its home country in November and December this year.
However, there are some issues causing difficulty, including a complex legal dispute with aircraft manufacturer Airbus over alleged safety flaws in its A350 aircraft. That dispute continues to work its way through the courts.
Qatar Airways appears to have emerged more quickly from the Covid slump than its key regional rival, Dubai-based Emirates airline.
In its financial results for the year to March 2022, released last month, Emirates reported a 86% rise in revenues to AED66.2 billion ($18 billion). It continued to trade at a slight loss, with an operating loss of AED278 million for the year, although chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum has said he expects to turn a profit in the current financial year.