Qantas faces higher revenue loss from natural disasters

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Australia's Qantas Airways has raised its natural disaster related loss estimate to $206 million, up 47% or $66 million, from its previous guidance of $140 million.

Qantas said that several disasters that took place during its current fiscal year, which ends 30 June, have led to the revision.

These include the ongoing flight delays and cancellations due to an ash plume from a Chilean volcano, and the impact of the Queensland floods, cyclones in Australia, the Japan earthquake and tsunami, and the earthquake in Christchurch in New Zealand.

With higher fuel prices biting into operations, the company says that it faces a "challenging operating environment". Its international operations, for instance, are expected to post a pre-tax loss of $200 million

Qantas International is the Group's weakest business - it has achieved required returns only three times in the past 15 years. Clearly the situation is not sustainable," said the Group's CEO Alan Joyce.

Joyce added that the Group will take the "hard steps necessary" to turn the airline around.

"We are developing a long-term strategy aimed at restoring competitiveness and profitability," he said. "Our review of Qantas International is progressing in line with expectations and we will announce plans for its strategic renewal later this year."