Qantas flags eye-watering loss for first six months of financial year

Qantas has flagged a loss of $1.1bn for the first six months of the financial year.

The airline released a market update on Thursday morning outlining the “significant loss” for the December half due to the extended Covid-19 lockdowns across the country.

A recent fall in flight bookings with the emergence of the Omicron variant also contributed to the results.

“This has been one of the worst halves of the entire pandemic, where most states had their borders closed and the majority of Australians were in lockdown,” chief executive Alan Joyce said in the statement.

Camera IconQantas chief executive Alan Joyce says the December half has been one of the worst halves of the entire pandemic. NCA NewsWire / Dylan Coker Credit: News Corp Australia

The company noted a “significant drop in booking momentum due to the news of the Omicron variant and the additional quarantine restrictions imposed” in regards to international travel.

Planning for its recovery, Qantas announced it had placed an order for 134 new Airbus jets over the next 10 years in what it claimed would be the biggest aircraft order in Australian history.

The recent $804m of prime land at Mascot near Sydney Airport and a rise in bookings after dates for the opening of Australia’s domestic and international borders were announced helped it reduce net debt to about $5.65bn by the end of December, Qantas said.

Liquidity levels “continue to remain strong” and were forecast to be approximately $4.2bn by the end of the current half, the airline also said.

Camera IconThere’s been a fall in flight bookings due to the emergence of the Omicron variant. NCA NewsWire / Naomi Jellicoe Credit: News Corp Australia

This included cash of $2.6bn and $1.6bn of undrawn debt facilities.

“While the recent boost in travel activity has partially offset the material impact from months of lockdowns, the group nonetheless anticipates a significant loss in the first half,” Qantas said.

“Assuming no further lockdowns or significant travel restrictions, the group expects a loss for the first half of the financial year in the range of $1.1bn.”

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