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DUBAI, Nov 12 AFP

November 13 2012, 03:24AM

Dubai's Emirates airline says it posted a 104 per cent surge in net profits in the first six months of the current financial year thanks to rising passenger numbers.

"In the first half of the 2012-13 fiscal year, Emirates net profit is 1.7 billion dirhams ($A448 million), up 104 per cent from 836 million dirhams," the carrier said in a statement.

The announcement came hours after an engine problem forced an Emirates A380 superjumbo to turn back to Sydney shortly after taking off.

The government-owned airline said it had carried 18.7 million passengers since April 1, up 15.4 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Its volume of cargo was up by more than 16 per cent, the airline said, pointing out that it was a "significant growth against the market trend".

Emirates posted revenues of 35.42 billion dirhams, up 17.3 per cent from the corresponding period last year.

The group as a whole, which includes Dnata travel services, generated revenues amounting to 38.245 billion dirhams, with net profits hitting 2.1 billion dirhams.

"The Emirates Group half-year performance is the result of hard work and our drive to stay on course and continue to grow despite the precarious marketplace," said chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum.

"We have continued to invest in the infrastructure of both Emirates and Dnata and it continues to pay off."

Meanwhile, the pilot of the Dubai-bound Emirates plane carrying 380 passengers decided to turn back shortly after take-off on Sunday night due to an engine problem as passengers reported a bright orange flash and loud bang.

An Emirates spokesman told AFP the decision was a "precaution" and "there were no flames or smoke".

Emirates is the largest single customer of Airbus' A380 and Boeing's 777 widebody aircraft.

Considered the world's fastest growing carrier, it has a fleet of 183 aircraft serving 126 destinations in 74 countries.