Middle East’s fastest growing Airlines Emirates on Thursday said its year-on-year net profit ended March 31,3009 fell 72 percent hit by slump demand on rising oil prices and low demand in travel industry in the current economic downturn.

It posted a net profit of $406 million (AED 1.49 billion ) from $1.45 billion (AED 5.3 billion) a year earlier and revenue increased of 10.4 percent to $12.6 billion from $11.4 billion a year ago.

“No one could have predicted the scale of the worldwide recession which is now impacting every country on earth,” Chairman and Chief Executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said. “Emirates has worked hard to cope with this downturn by maintaining our agility and responsiveness in a volatile economic environment.”

Its passenger load factor increased 13.4 percent to 75.8 percent and passenger and cargo traffic increased 10.5 percent to 24,397 tons kilometers compared with 7.7 per cent to 15, 879 million ton kilometers.

It also retained a healthy cash balance of $2.4 billion (AED 8.7 billion ) compared with $3.8 billion (AED 14 billion) in the previous year.