Qatar Airways announced on Tuesday that it has generated EBITDAR (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortisation and rent) margin of 23% at QR9.714bn.
The EBITDAR was lower than the previous year's QR1.759bn due to longer flying time resulting from the illegal siege on Qatar, and loss of seats from the siege countries.
Qatar Airways said in a statement that its annual report for 2017-18, which followed the most challenging year in its 20-year history, demonstrates the airline's strength and resilience in the face of adversity. Overall revenue and other operating income grew 7.22% annually compared to capacity (available seat kilometres) growth of 9.96%.
Lower revenue growth was directly attributable to the illegal siege imposed on Qatar on June 5, 2017, which impacted departing seats by 19%.
Meanwhile, cargo revenue witnessed an impressive growth of 34.40% against cargo capacity (available tonne kilometres) growing 13.95% annually.
Replacing 18 mature routes, which were closed due to the illegal siege, the airline opened 14 new destinations during the fiscal year (24 new destinations to date).
New destinations come with launch costs and the necessity to establish market presence, which resulted in an overall net loss of QR252mn. However, with a positive operating cash inflow, the cash position of the group remained strong at QR13.312bn.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker said that the turbulent year has inevitably had an impact on its financial results, which reflect the negative effect the illegal blockade had on the airline. However, thanks to the robust business planning, swift actions in the face of the crisis, passenger-focused solutions and dedicated staff, the impact has been minimised, and has certainly not been as negative as the neighbouring countries may have hoped for.
The strategic and rapid response from the airline when neighbouring countries illegally blocked Qatar's airspace on June 5, 2017 put Qatar Airways in a position of strength, recovering from the unprecedented attack on the country's sovereignty, Qatar Airways said.
Within 10 weeks new destinations to Sohar, Prague and Kyiv were announced and launched, while other routes saw an increase in frequency and capacity, thus swiftly redeploying capacity with a view to soften the impact of being illegally blockaded from 18 regional gateways.
The airline has launched 24 new destinations in total since the start of the siege, further expanding its network of more than 150 exciting gateways around the world and continuing its ambitious growth plans in Europe and Asia.
Against this backdrop of regional political tension, just six weeks after the start of the blockade, Qatar Airways proved to the world that its neighbours had failed to reach their objective in reducing the airline to collapse by instead winning the coveted title of "Skytrax Airline of the Year" for the fourth time in less than 10 years.
The airline also took home awards for "Worlds Best Business Class", "Best Airline in the Middle East", and "Worlds Best First Class Airline Lounge".
Throughout this turbulent year, Qatar Airways has not wavered from its strategy and vision of constant growth and development to give its loyal passengers the best possible on-board experience every time they travel.
As the first airline in the world to take delivery of the Airbus A350-1000 in February 2018, Qatar Airways proved once again that it leads where other airlines follow in terms of providing passengers with the latest generation aircraft available in the skies.
As well as taking delivery of its first Airbus A350-1000, the airline added 20 other aircraft to the fleet throughout the financial year, increasing the total number to 213 (as of March 31, 2018).
During the financial year, Qatar Airways Group also continued apace with the expansion of its investment portfolio to include an initial 9.94% stake in Cathay Pacific, which has since increased to 9.99%, as well as a 49% share of AQA Holding, the parent company of Meridiana fly, which was relaunched as Air Italy in February 2018.