Qantas posts $1.3bn loss but future looking brighter

Qantas has reported a half-yearly loss of $1.28 billion before tax after a “frustrating” six months that saw the Omicron wave restrictions cut into the carrier’s bottom line.

The carrier reported a $245 million loss of underlying earnings and a statutory loss before tax of $622 million. On a more upbeat front the company’s net debt was reduced to $5.5 billion.

“Most of Australia was in lockdown for several months of the first half, so the loss we’ve announced today isn’t surprising but it is frustrating,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

“We saw a sharp rebound in travel demand when borders started opening in November and December, only to be hit by the Omicron wave and all the uncertainty that came with it.

“The uncertainty carried over into January but demand has started to recover as Australia adjusts to truly living with COVID. Our frequent flyer surveys show the intent to travel is extremely high and we’re seeing good leisure demand into the fourth quarter.”

Joyce also said the opening of Australia’s border had seen “international bookings strengthen”.

“In mid-February, we had our best week for international ticket sales since pre-Covid,” he said.

“We’ll get more positive momentum from Western Australia opening in March.”