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Qantas sets new date for int’l return after $1b+ loss

Stark but not surprising results: CEO

Qantas has reported a net loss of $1.47 billion for HY21 following six months of devastation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. 


With an Underlying Loss Before Tax of $1.03 billion, Qantas recorded a fall of $6.9 billion in revenue, which represented a decrease of 75% year-on-year. 



Losses in Qantas International, which has essentially been grounded since mid-2020, were offset by record Qantas Freight performance, while Qantas Domestic, Qantaslink and Jetstar generated positive underlying cashflow despite experiencing a drop of around 70% in revenue and capacity. 


While capacity will be lower than pre-COVID levels, Qantas also announced it intends to return to 22 of its 25 pre-COVID international destinations from 31 October 2021, marking a four-month extension from the previous estimate of July 2021.


Although Qantas says it remains committed to their return, services to New York, Santiago and Osaka will remain suspended until further notice.   


Trans-Tasman flights are also expected to ramp up from July 2021, the airline confirmed.


To support the return of Qantas International, the flying kangaroo will offer new flexibility with unlimited flight date changes. 


“These figures are stark but not surprising,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said. 


“During the half we saw the second wave in Victoria and the strictest domestic travel restrictions since the pandemic began. Virtually all of our international flying and 70 per cent of domestic flying stopped, and with it went three-quarters of our revenue.


“Despite the huge challenges, these results show the Group’s underlying strength.”


Mr Joyce said the Group saw “significant pent up travel demand and generated positive cash flow” through its domestic services, while Qantas Loyalty had “significant income” thanks to points earned from activity on the ground.


“These factors couldn’t overcome the massive impact of this crisis, but they have softened it,” he remarked.


“We’ve maintained a high level of liquidity because we were quick to cut costs and because we’ve been able to raise debt and equity. This gives us the breathing room to deal with the levels of uncertainty we’re still facing, and funding for the restructuring that will ultimately speed up our recovery.”


“Our priorities remain the safety of everyone who travels with us, getting as many of our people back to work as possible and generating positive cash flow to repair our balance sheet.”


Joyce said the rollout of the vaccine also “gives us more certainty”. 


“More certainty that domestic borders can stay open because frontline and quarantine workers will be vaccinated in a matter of weeks,” he added. 


“And more certainty that international borders can open when the nationwide rollout is effectively complete by the end of October.”


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 24 February 2021

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