Qantas posts strong first half earnings

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Sydney, Australia (4E) – Qantas Airways Ltd. reported on Thursday that profits for the first half doubled as it received compensation payments from Boeing Co. for late delivery of ordered planes although operating performance remains weak.

The airline company said net profit reached A$111mn ($114m) in the six months ended Dec. 31, higher than the A$42m posted a year ago.

Qantas said that losses in its international division, a business segment of concern for the company, narrowed to A$91m from A$262m in the previous year.

The Sydney-based carrier suffered its first-ever loss last year following strike action by airline staff that included baggage handlers, engineers and pilots. As a result, Qantas was forced to temporarily ground its entire fleet.

The company currently controls about two-thirds of the Australian market but is facing increased competition locally from Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. In an attempt to lure away customers from its rival, Virgin started having business class seats on domestic flights.

Qantas has made steps to turn around its fortunes like cancellation of services on loss-making routes, job cuts and streamlining of the maintenance operations.

The airline has also linked with Emirates with the two companies agreeing to collaborate on flight scheduling, sales and pricing.

Qantas, which did not provide full-year earnings guidance, also expects the operating environment to remain volatile and challenging for the second half of the year.

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