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Emirates profits rebound amid expanding fleet

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- The parent company of Dubai-based carrier Emirates says profits for the first half of the year surged by more than 63 percent as the Middle East's biggest airline expanded routes and benefited from stabilizing fuel prices.

The Emirates Group reports Monday that profits rose to 2.37 billion dirhams ($645.7 million) for the first half of 2012 compared with ($394.8 million) in the same period last year.

The jump of 63.6 percent is a strong rebound after a sharp drop in profits for the fiscal year ending March 31 on rising fuel costs.

Emirates says its fleet expanded to 183 planes in the first half of the year — a rise of nearly 16 percent.

Emirates has faced escalating competition with regional rivals Qatar Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways.