Qan­tas reports £1.4bn loss as Aus­tralia shuts its bor­ders

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Chris John­ston

THE boss of Qan­tas is not ex­pect­ing in­ter­na­tional travel to and from Aus­tralia to restart un­til mid-2021, af­ter the air­line sank to its first an­nual loss in six years.

Alan Joyce said routes to the US could stay closed for even longer and only open to over­seas air­lines once a vac­cine has been de­vel­oped and distribute­d. The gov­ern­ment has said Aus­tralia will not re­open to for­eign trav­ellers un­til a vac­cine is found.

Next year “is go­ing to be an­other bad year – re­cov­ery will take time and it will be choppy”, Mr Joyce added.

Qan­tas sank to a A$2.7bn (£1.4bn) pre-tax loss, most of which re­flected the costs of moth­balling 100 air­craft and re­dun­dancy pay­outs fol­low­ing a “near-to­tal col­lapse” in de­mand due to the pan­demic. It suf­fered a $4bn hit to rev­enue from the cri­sis in the first half of the year. “We were on track for an­other profit above A$1bn when this cri­sis struck,” Mr Joyce said.

The air­line man­aged a A$124m pre­tax profit on an un­der­ly­ing ba­sis, down 91pc, due to a strong first half. Qan­tas said “fast ac­tion to rad­i­cally cut costs and place much of the fly­ing busi­ness into a form of hi­ber­na­tion” helped min­imise the fi­nan­cial im­pact of the shut­down.

De­spite the on­go­ing un­cer­tainty, the air­line said it re­mained “well po­si­tioned” to take ad­van­tage of the even­tual re­turn to air travel.

Qan­tas still plans to lay off 6,000 staff de­spite Aus­tralian air­lines be­ing given hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in tax­payer cash to save the sec­tor from col­lapse. Its main com­peti­tor, Vir­gin Aus­tralia, went into vol­un­tary ad­min­is­tra­tion in April shortly af­ter Aus­tralia closed its in­ter­na­tional bor­ders and do­mes­tic travel plunged.

Vir­gin an­nounced ear­lier this month it would close bud­get off­shoot Tig­erair Aus­tralia and lay off 3,000 staff as it pre­pared to re­launch un­der the new own­er­ship of US pri­vate eq­uity gi­ant Bain Cap­i­tal.

Aus­tralia, which has recorded just over 24,000 cases of coro­n­avirus and 463 deaths, has lim­ited the num­ber of its own cit­i­zens who can re­turn home from over­seas in an at­tempt to stem the spread of the virus.

Alan Joyce, Qan­tas chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, doesn’t ex­pect in­ter­na­tional travel to re­sume un­til mid-2021

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.