Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd on Thursday posted a full-year net loss of A$1.964 billion ($1.41 billion), one of its largest ever, driven by impairment charges and restructuring costs designed to help it weather the coronavirus pandemic.
"COVID will continue to have a huge impact on our business and we're expecting a significant underlying loss in FY21," Chief Executive Alan Joyce said in a statement, adding the trading conditions were the worst in its 100-year history.
"Recovery will take time and it will be choppy."
The carrier's A$124 million underlying pre-tax profit in the 12 months ended June 30, its most-watched financial figure, was well above the A$6.5 million average profit expected by 11 analysts polled by Refinitiv. That was due mostly to a strong first half before the pandemic hit.
Qantas in June had warned it expected to take around A$2.8 billion of one-off charges, which included a writedown of A$1.4 billion on its Airbus SE A380 fleet but said it expected a small pre-tax underlying profit.
Its biggest-ever net loss was A$2.84 billion in 2014, which prompted major cost cuts and led to strong annual profits of around A$900 million for four years before the pandemic.
"We were on track for another profit above A$1 billion when this crisis struck," Joyce said.
The airline in June raised more than A$1.4 billion from institutional and retail shareholders to help it weather the pandemic, announced plans to cut at least 20% of its staff and cancelled most international passenger flying until July 2021.
Qantas has since faced further setbacks in the domestic market due to state border closures. That led it to add capacity more slowly than it had forecast in June.
It said domestic capacity was running at around 20% of normal in August, down from a planned 32%. ($1 = 1.3916 Australian dollars) - Reuters
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