Qantas full-year profits down 87%

Singapore
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Qantas Airways has posted an 87% drop in its fiscal full year profits amid what the Australian flag carrier calls the most "volatile and challenging" time for the aviation industry.

Pre-tax profits for the year to 30 June came to A$181 million ($150 million), down 87% from the A$1.4 billion it earned from a year before, says the oneworld alliance carrier. Profits after tax were down 87% as well at A$123 million.

Sales and other income were 7% lower at A$14.55 billion, while expenditure was virtually flat at A$14.35 billion.

"The first half of the year was characterised by a generally favourable operating environment and strong demand," said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

"During the second half, the environment deteriorated, with domestic and international competitor capacity continuing to grow and demand in key markets softening quickly as the global slowdown hit. This was compounded by one-off events during the year, including protracted industrial action, H1N1 influenza and the costs associated with introducing the new Qantas [Airbus] A380."

He added that "there has never been a more volatile and challenging time for the world's aviation industry", and pointed out that Qantas was reporting a profit at a time when many other airlines were posting losses.

"Through unprecedented and significant shifts in operating conditions and demand, we have remained financially strong. This has been due to our strategy built around two strong flying brands in Qantas and Jetstar, a portfolio of airline-related businesses, and an ongoing focus on managing costs and driving efficiencies," said Joyce.

Qantas, however, declined to provide any profit guidance for this fiscal year "given the high level of uncertainty" in the industry.

"There are signs of an improvement in passenger volumes. In addition, yields have stabilised at the levels experienced in the second half of the 2009 financial year. High levels of volatility in the economic outlook, industry capacity, passenger demand, fuel prices and exchange rates continue," it pointed out.