The state-owned airline, which suspended regular passenger flights in March due to the virus outbreak that has shattered global travel demand, said that a recovery in travel was at least 18 months away.
It reported a 21% rise in profit for its financial year that ended on March 31, but said the pandemic had hit its fourth quarter performance and it would tap banks to raise debt in its first quarter to lessen the impact on cash flows by the virus.
The airline, which has been promised financial aid from its Dubai state owner, did not say how much it expected to raise.
“The COVID-19 pandemic will have a huge impact on our 2020-21 performance,” Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed said in a statement.
“We continue to take aggressive cost management measures, and other necessary steps to safeguard our business, while planning for business resumption.”
In an internal email sent to staff on Sunday and seen by Reuters, Sheikh Ahmed said the months ahead would be the most difficult in the airline’s 35-year history.
“At some point, if our business situation doesn’t improve, we will have to take harder measures,” he said in the email.
Emirates Group, which counts the airline among its assets, said it will not pay an annual dividend to its shareholder, Dubai’s state fund. Its cash assets stood at 25.6 billion dirham ($7 billion), it said.
Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said in the group’s annual report released on Sunday that he was confident Emirates would emerge from the crisis strong, and a global leader in aviation.
Dubai said in March that it would inject funding into the airline. Emirates said in the annual report that Dubai would financially support the airline if it was required.
An Emirates spokeswoman said Dubai’s commitment to provide it with “equity injections” would allow it to “preserve its skilled workforce.” It would also allow it to be ready to resume flights when possible and continue to operate cargo and other services, she added.