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Qantas announces $2.3bn loss but plans to be flying again by Christmas

  • August 27 2021
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Qantas announces $2.3bn loss but plans to be flying again by Christmas

By Cameron Micallef
August 27 2021

Australia’s national carrier has revealed the devastating impacts border closures have had on the company, while noting a possible return date to international operations in its full-year market update.

Qantas

Qantas announces $2.3bn loss but plans to be flying again by Christmas

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  • August 27 2021
  • Share

Australia’s national carrier has revealed the devastating impacts border closures have had on the company, while noting a possible return date to international operations in its full-year market update.

Qantas

Qantas revealed the full impact of lockdowns on its financials, reporting a before-tax loss of $2.35 billion and an underlying loss of $1.8 billion for the 12 months ended 30 June 2021.

In total, the airline estimated revenue impacts from the COVID-19 downturn reached $16 billion since the pandemic began and border restrictions were implemented.

Group total revenue was $5.9 billion, down $12 billion or 67 per cent compared with 2018-19 pre-COVID.

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However, some of these losses were offset by the Australian taxpayer, with a Senate hearing in May revealing government support to the airline had surpassed $1.5 billion.

As such, the Qantas group highlighted that they are in a fundamentally better position to deal with uncertainty and manage the crisis than they were 12 months earlier.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the losses reflect “diabolical trading” conditions where 330 days of domestic travel were restricted.

“It comes on top of the significant loss we reported last year and the travel restrictions we’ve seen in the past few months. By the end of this calendar year, it’s likely COVID will cost us more than $20 billion in revenue,” he said.

Despite the downturn, the CEO remained optimistic about the company’s future, highlighting ‘difficult’ decisions it has made along the way, while predicting that travel will resume with stronger vaccine take-up.

“Things remain tough, especially for thousands of our people waiting to return to their jobs when borders open and hopefully stay open. Our focus is getting them back to work as soon as possible, which is why we were ramping up our flying and adding new destinations before the most recent lockdowns,” Mr Joyce continued.

When will travel resume

Despite having little control over when borders reopen, Mr Joyce remains bullish on the start date of international travel, noting that the government’s current vaccine rollout plans mean Australians can get back in the air by December 2021.

Referring to the national cabinet’s rollout strategy, Mr Joyce highlighted ‘Phase C’, which says that when 80 per cent of Aussies are double-jabbed, international borders can reopen.

“It’s obviously up to the government exactly how and when our international borders reopen, but with Australia on track to meet the 80 per cent trigger agreed by the National Cabinet by the end of the year, we need to plan ahead for what is a complex restart process,” Mr Joyce said.

Qantas said the initial routes planned were for destinations with high COVID-19 vaccination rates, with flights expected to resume by mid-December 2021.

They include Singapore, the US, Japan, UK and Canada.

It also expects the New Zealand travel bubble will resume in some form by mid-December.

By February 2022, Mr Joyce hopes that flights to Hong Kong will resume, while the rest of the Qantas and Jetstar international networks brace to reopen from April 2022.

“The prospect of flying overseas might feel a long way off, especially with New South Wales and Victoria in lockdown, but the current pace of the vaccine rollout means we should have a lot more freedom in a few months’ time,” Mr Joyce concluded.

Qantas announces $2.3bn loss but plans to be flying again by Christmas
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

author image
Cameron Micallef

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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