Emirate Airlines Profit Plunges on Sky-High Fuel Costs

Emirates Airlines reported a 72 percent drop in 2011 earnings on Thursday, with rocketing fuel prices cutting into profits.

Dubai’s flagship carrier reported a net profit of $409 million in 2011, down from $1.5 billion in 2010. Emirates’s fuel costs rose by 44 percent to $6.6 billion.

In an interview with CNBC’s 'Worldwide Exchange', Emirates President Tim Clark said that for the majority of 2011, the airline refrained from passing extra fuel costs onto customers.

“For over 11 months we did not pass the cost onto consumers, and more recently we had to do that. We waited for 11 months because we believed the fuel prices would come off [the highs reached], but clearly they haven’t,” Clark told .

Clark said that without the rise in fuel costs, Emirates’s 2011 results would have been “significantly better” than 2010’s. “In many respects it has been a very good story,” he said.

He added that should a sustained fall in fuel prices materialize over the next few months, Emirates would remove customer fuel surcharges. “That’s a fair deal,” he said.

By CNBC.com's Katy Barnato