Qantas hopes for December offshore travel after $2.3b loss

Qantas plunged deeper into the red than expected, reporting a $2.35 billion statutory full-year pre-tax loss as the carrier struggles to manoeuvre its heavily exposed business through the rampant delta COVID-19 variant.

The big loss for the year to June 30 exceeded Morningstar analyst forecasts for a pre-tax deficit of $2.16 billion, but it was an improvement on the $2.7 billion shortfall at the height of the pandemic in the 2020 financial year.

“The trading conditions have frankly been diabolical,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said. Qantas, despite a few months of the domestic arm running at full tilt, has struggled with state and international border closures, lockdowns and a slow ramp-up in the vaccine rollout for much of the period.

Still, the airline remains confident international travel can resume in December, given the improved pace of the vaccine rollout, and is pushing state and territory leaders to stick to the national reopening plan.

Qantas reckons Australia will reach 80 per cent of the eligible population vaccinated – the threshold to trigger “phase C” of the plan which will facilitate a gradual reopening of international borders – at some point in December.

“Key markets like the UK, North America and parts of Asia have high and increasing levels of vaccination. This makes them highly likely to be classed as low-risk countries for vaccinated travellers to visit and return from under reduced quarantine requirements, pending decisions by the Australian government and entry policies of other countries,” a Qantas statement said.

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