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Qantas Group Reports FY21 Statutory Pre-Tax Loss of $2.35 Billion, Outlines International Strategy

The Qantas Group has reported a FY21 underlying pre-tax loss of $1.83 billion and a statutory loss before taxes, including one-off costs such as redundancies and aircraft write-downs of $2.35 billion. The Group ended the fiscal year with $3.8 billion in liquidity.


Qantas Airbus A380 - Courtesy Airbus

On Thursday (August 26, 2021), the Qantas Group reported their annual financial results for FY21. The Group reported an underlying pre-tax loss of $1.83 billion and a statutory loss, including special items such as redundancies and aircraft write downs, of $2.35 billion. During FY21, the company’s revenue was impacted by $12 billion due to the ongoing global COVID-19 crisis. Qantas ended the fiscal year with total liquidity of $3.8 billion, providing a buffer against future uncertainty. The company was able to reduce their net debt from $6.4 billion in February 2021 to $5.9 billion at the end of June due to significant cash generation by Qantas and Jetstar during periods of open domestic borders.


In Thursday’s announcement, Qantas Group’s CEO, Alan Joyce, said,


“This loss shows the impact that a full year of closed international borders and more than 330 days of domestic travel restrictions had on the national carrier. The trading conditions have frankly been diabolical. It comes on top of the significant loss we reported last year and the travel restrictions we’ve seen in the past few months. By the end of this calendar year, it’s likely COVID will cost us more than $20 billion in revenue.


“We’ve had to make a lot of big and difficult structural changes to deal with this crisis, and that phase is mostly behind us. As a result, we’re geared to recover quickly, in-line with a national vaccine rollout that is speeding up. Things remain tough, especially for thousands of our people waiting to return to their jobs when borders open and hopefully stay open. Our focus is getting them back to work as soon as possible, which is why we were ramping up our flying and adding new destinations before the most recent lockdowns.


“Despite the uncertainty that’s still in front of us, we’re in a far better position to manage it than this time last year. We’re able to move quickly when borders open and close. We’re a leaner and more efficient organisation. And our requirement for all employees to be vaccinated will create a safer environment for our people and customers. When Australia reaches those critical vaccination targets later this year and the likelihood of future lockdowns and border closures reduces, we expect to see a surge in domestic travel demand and a gradual return of international travel.


“I’d like to specifically recognise everyone across this company, for dealing with a huge amount of upheaval due to this crisis and showing enormous commitment and professionalism in the process. Our people maintained an absolute focus on safety and on serving our customers, who have likewise been extremely understanding as we’ve all gone through this difficult period.”


On June 30, 2021, the Qantas Group had total liquidity of $3.8 billion, including $2.2 billion in cash and committed undrawn credit facilities of $1.6 billion, as well as $2.5 billion in unencumbered assets. Net CAPEX for FY21 totaled $693 million, primarily attributable to fleet maintenance. The company’s COVID recovery plan has targeted at least $1.0 billion in permanent annual savings from FY23. Since the onset of the pandemic, Qantas has cut their workforce by 9,400 team members. Approximately 6,000 employees associated with international flying remain stood down, with an additional 2,500 employees stood down due to external and domestic border restrictions.


In a separate announcement on Thursday (August 26, 2021), Qantas outlines their strategy for restarting international flights. The company hopes to restart international service in December 2021, depending on the pace of vaccine rollouts, quarantine restrictions and Government decisions. Qantas will initially focus on destinations with high vaccination rates such as North America, the UK, Singapore and Japan. The airline also plans on reactivating five Airbus A380s from mid-2022 to meet high demand to Los Angeles and London. In total, Qantas plans on returning 10 A380s with upgraded cabins to service, while retiring two. Service to destinations with low vaccine rates and high levels of COVID-19 infections, including Bali, Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City and Johannesburg, will be pushed from December 2021 to April 2022.


Speaking on the airline’s international restart strategy, Qantas Group’s CEO, Alan Joyce, said,


“The prospect of flying overseas might feel a long way off, especially with New South Wales and Victoria in lockdown, but the current pace of the vaccine rollout means we should have a lot more freedom in a few months’ time. It’s obviously up to government exactly how and when our international borders re-open, but with Australia on track to meet the 80 per cent trigger agreed by National Cabinet by the end of the year, we need to plan ahead for what is a complex restart process.


“There’s a lot of work that needs to happen, including training for our people and carefully bringing aircraft back into service. We’re also working to integrate the IATA travel pass into our systems to help our customers prove their vaccine status and cross borders. We can adjust our plans if the circumstances change, which we’ve already had to do several times during this pandemic. Some people might say we’re being too optimistic, but based on the pace of the vaccine rollout, this is within reach and we want to make sure we’re ready.”


From mid-December 2021, Qantas hopes to restart service to COVID-safe destinations including Singapore, the U.S., Japan, the UK and Canada with Boeing 787s and Airbus A330s. The carrier will deploy Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s on routes to Fiji. The airline also expects to offer tickets to New Zealand from mid-December, depending on the restart of the two-way travel bubble. Qantas is also exploring the possibility of using Darwin as a transit point to London, in addition to their existing Perth hub, as the airline expects an increase in post-COVID demand to the UK. As previously mentioned, the carrier will reactivate five A380s which would fly between Sydney and LA from July 2022, and between Sydney and London via Singapore from November 2022.


Additionally, Qantas is working with Airbus to extend the range of their A330-200s so they can operate on certain trans-pacific routes such as from Brisbane to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Flights to Hong Kong will restart in April 2022, with the remaining Qantas and Jetstar international routes scheduled to reopen with increasing capacity from April 2022. Qantas plans on taking delivery of three Boeing 787-9s in FY23, while Jetstar will take delivery of their first three A320neo LR’s from early FY23. The long-range A320neos will allow Jetstar to deploy some of their 787s on other routes.



Source: Qantas

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