Qantas posts third major loss from Covid pandemic

Australian flag carrier Qantas on Thursday reported its third consecutive loss of more than A$1 billion ($690 million), which it attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic, though it said its recovery was on track.

Qantas reported an underlying loss before tax of A$1.86 billion and a statutory loss before tax of A$1.19 billion for the full 2022 financial year, which in Australia ends on June 30, reports dpa news agency.

“The difference between these two measures largely reflects the $686 million net gain on sale of surplus land, which helped reduce Covid-related debt,” the company said in a statement.

Qantas said that the third quarter of the financial year saw “the highest sustained levels of travel demand since the start of the pandemic” and that its flying levels “averaged at 33 per cent of pre-pandemic levels but finished at 68 per cent”.

The Australian carrier said its net debt fell from a high of more than A$6.4 billion to A$3.9 billion at the end of the financial year.

Qantas, which had recently apologised for widespread issues with flight cancellations, delays and luggage mishandling, said it would focus on responding to “operational challenges” now the “existential crisis posed by the pandemic” is over.

“We always knew travel demand would recover strongly but the speed and scale of that recovery has been exceptional,” Qantas Group head Alan Joyce said, while also addressing the airport chaos.

“We saw a big improvement in baggage handling and cancellations in August, which we expect will return to pre-Covid standards next month. On time performance also improved significantly and should be close to our usual high standard in September.”

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