Qantas has posted an almost $2 billion loss for the 12 months ending June 30, highlighting the full impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on the aviation sector.
While the carrier saw a strong first half of the year, the restrictions and border closures in March resulted in a “total collapse in travel and demand”.
“The impact of COVID on all airlines is clear. It’s devastating and it will be a question of survival for many,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said.
“We’ve had to make some very tough decisions in the past few months to guarantee our future. At least 6000 of our people will leave the business through no fault of their own, and thousands more will be stood down for a long time.
“Recovery will take time and it will be choppy.”
While Joyce said there had been setbacks over the ongoing confusion of border closures he predicted a return of international air travel in July 2021.
“We’ve been hit by another set of border closures,” he said. “It shows how important it is to have a national framework for domestic borders – so that there is clarity and consistency,” he said.
“Despite the recent setbacks, we know conditions will ultimately improve.”
The carrier had already announced in June it would cut 6000 jobs from its 29,000 workforce and continue to stand down 15,000 workers for at least the rest of the year. But Joyce said that simply “getting smaller” was not a guarantee of survival in a post-COVID environment.
“There will be some reinvention required to succeed in a different world,” he said.