Dubai (AFP)

Emirates, the Dubai airline, on Tuesday announced annual losses of around 4.5 billion euros, the first in more than three decades as lockdowns and restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic hit the industry hard of aviation.

"Due to the flight and travel restrictions linked to the pandemic, the airline recorded a loss of 20.3 billion dirhams (over 4.5 billion euros) after a profit of 1.1 billion dirhams (nearly 247 million euros) last year, "Emirates said in a statement.

The airline, which like the others was forced to temporarily suspend its activities in the spring of 2020, saw its revenues fall by 66% to reach 6.9 billion euros.

In the fiscal year, which ends in March, Emirates carried 6.6 million passengers, down 88% from the same previous period (March 2019 to March 2020).

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The group has been "hard hit by the drop in demand for international air travel, as countries have closed their borders and imposed strict restrictions on travelers," said chairman and chief executive officer Sheikh Ahmed bin Said Al-Maktoum, cited in the press release.

Consequence: layoffs hit all sectors of the company "for the first time" in its history, the workforce having been reduced by 31% to reach 75,145 employees.

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