Life Travel Qantas suffers $2b loss as revenue hit by first few months of virus pandemic
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Qantas suffers $2b loss as revenue hit by first few months of virus pandemic

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Qantas has suffered a $4 billion revenue hit from the coronavirus pandemic and warns international travel could still be a year away.

The airline recorded a net loss of $1.96 billion, down more than $2.8 billion from last year’s $840 million profit.

Qantas group CEO Alan Joyce said the second half of the year was the toughest set of conditions the national carrier had faced in its 100-year history.

“The impact of COVID on all airlines is clear,” he said on Thursday.

“It’s devastating and it will be a question of survival for many.

“We were on track for another profit above $1 billion when this crisis struck.

“COVID will continue to have a huge impact on our business and we’re expecting a significant underlying loss in FY [financial year] 21.”

However, Mr Joyce said he remained optimistic about the longer-term prospects for the airline as the pandemic subsides.

“Recovery will take time and it will be choppy. We’ve already had setbacks with borders opening and then closing again,” he said.

“But we know that travel is at the top of people’s wish lists, and that demand will return as soon as restrictions lift.”

The airline had scored a $771 million pre-tax profit in the first half of the year before things fell apart.

“(The results) reflects a strong first half of the year, followed by a near-total collapse in travel demand and a $4 billion drop in revenue in the second half due to the COVID-19 crisis and associated border restrictions,” Qantas announced.

On a pre-tax basis, the overall loss was $2.7 billion, including aircraft writedowns.

The airline says around 4,000 of its 6,000 planned job cuts are expected to be finalised by the end of September, while it continues to stand down 20,000 employees.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce became Qantas CEO in November 2008. Photo: AAP

Mr Joyce said he remained optimistic about the longer-term prospects for the airline as the pandemic subsides.

“Recovery will take time and it will be choppy. We’ve already had setbacks with borders opening and then closing again,” he said.

“But we know that travel is at the top of people’s wish lists, and that demand will return as soon as restrictions lift.”

The carrier says given current border restrictions, 20 per cent of pre-COVID domestic capacity is scheduled for August.

Recent sales activity shows there will be high levels of demand when those restrictions are eased.

But its international network is unlikely to restart before July 2021, although a Trans-Tasman route could start earlier.

-with agencies