The COVID-19 crisis continues to have a major impact on our airlines with Qantas positing a massive $2.35 billion annual loss.
It takes the airline’s total losses for the last two years to $5b billion.
The company attributed the results to a $16 billion loss in revenue which is expected to exceed $20 billion by the end of this year.
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Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the results show how difficult the pandemic has been for the aviation sector, labelling the trading conditions “diabolical”.
“These are big numbers,” he said.
“And they sum up what continues to be a very tough time for this industry, this company, and our people.”
“International borders were essentially closed for the whole year, and there were only about 30 days when we didn’t face some level of domestic travel restrictions.”
Qantas and Jetstar have now shed 9400 jobs, which equates to a third of the workforce. More than 800 employees remain stood down waiting for borders to reopen.
Mr Joyce said the company remained hopeful international travel would be able to restart in the near future.
I know the prospect of flying overseas might feel a long way off – especially with New South Wales and Victoria in lockdown,” he said.
“Some people might say we’re still being too optimistic.
“But the current pace of the vaccine rollout means all Australian states are on track to reach the 80 per cent target by December – which is the trigger for starting to carefully open to some parts of the world.
“That means there’s a lot of work that has to begin now.”
The airline is hopeful flights to countries with high vaccine rates, including Singapore, Japan, the US, UK and New Zealand, to resume from mid-December ’21 onwards.
The earliest Australians could fly to low vaccination areas like Bali and Manila will be April 2022.
“One of the biggest unknowns is the quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers entering Australia,” Mr Joyce said.
“If it’s 14 days in a hotel, demand levels will be very low. A shorter period with additional testing and the option to isolate at home will see a lot more people travel.
“Like many elements of this plan, it relies on decisions by the Australian Government.
“We’re in regular discussion with the government and have shared our plans with them.
“While they don’t have a crystal ball either, they agree our broad assumptions are reasonable.”