Australia’s Qantas has acknowledged that the airline sector is “far from post-Covid”, even as its leaders remain optimistic about near-term recovery prospects.

Speaking at the airline’s annual general meeting on 4 November, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the airline has put in more resources than during pre-pandemic times to “maintain this level of service”.


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He was referring to steps the airline had taken in recent weeks to address its well-publicised operational woes such as delays and flight cancellations.

Still, Joyce says the “temporary, but critical” additional investments will only go some way in normalising operations.

“That’s because the industry as a whole is far from ‘post-COVID’. There are side effects that still impact us daily,” he says, highlighting supply chain issues as an example.

When supply chain issues begin to normalise, the airline is confident of returning to its “natural market share” of around 70%, slightly higher than the high-60% it currently holds.

At the meeting, airline chairman Richard Goyder was bullish about the airline’s “remarkable recovery”, noting the airline’s forecast in October of a huge swing to profitability after two years of pandemic losses.

Joyce, meanwhile, says the airline is “quickly approaching” pre-pandemic levels of service, and is “starting to grow again”.

He says the airline’s revenue from leisure bookings is currently 30% higher than pre-pandemic levels, while business travel revenue is around the same.

The airline has also separately outlined its performance improvements in October, noting that domestic flight cancellations have fallen below pre-pandemic levels, while on-time performance was up five percentage points.

“Qantas continues to invest in a buffer against the challenges that impacted reliability earlier in the year, including unexpected sick leave spikes and supply chain delays,” the airline states.