Emirates Group, the parent company of the Dubai-based carrier, released its 2018-2019 annual report on Thursday, revealing it has suffered a "tough" financial year.

In light of increasing fuel prices and decreasing travel demand in regional economies, Emirates reported a profit of 871 million dirhams ($237 million), marking the airline's lowest earnings in a decade.

"2018-19 has been tough, and our performance was not as strong as we would have liked," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said in a statement.

"Every business cycle is different, and we continue to work smart and hard to tackle the challenges and take advantage of opportunities," he added.

Emirates Group recorded its 31st consecutive year of profit, earning 2.3 billion dirhams ($631 million) - a 44 percent decline from the previous year. 

As for Emirates, the carrier's reported profit went down 69 percent from the previous year.

"Higher oil prices and the strengthened US dollar eroded our earnings, even as competition intensified in our key markets. The uptick in global airfreight demand from the previous year appears to have gone into reverse gear, and we also saw travel demand weaken, particularly in our region," Al Maktoum explained.

The carrier endured its biggest-ever fuel bill, with fuel cost increasing substantially by 25 percent over last year.

The airline, the world's largest international carrier, noted that its overall passenger traffic has remained steady, having carried 58.6 million passengers during the year.

Emirates phased out 11 older aircraft and acquired 13 new ones, which "reinforces Emirates' strategy to operate a young and modern fleet, and live up to its 'Fly Better' brand promise as modern aircraft are better for the environment, better for operations, and better for customers," according to the airline.

The carrier also launched three new passenger destinations and reinstated services to Sabiha Gokcen, Turkey.

Additionally, Emirates Group collectively invested 14.6 billion dirhams ($ 3.9 billion) in new aircraft and equipment, the acquisition of companies, modern facilities, the latest technologies, and staff initiatives, marking a significant increase in comparison with last year's investment spend.

"Our goal has always been to build a profitable, sustainable, and responsible business based in Dubai, and these principles continue to guide our decisions and investments," Al Maktoum emphasized.

A difficult year for Gulf carriers

Abu Dhabi-owned Etihad Airways recorded a loss of $1.28 billion for 2018, marking its third successive yearly loss.

Qatar Airways is also forecast to report a full-year loss for 2018 for the second consecutive year due to fuel prices and currency rates, according to Financial Times.