Qantas Airways yesterday posted a record annual profit and declared its first final dividend in eight years, reaping the benefits of a largely completed restructuring despite a global travel downturn.
Australia’s flagship carrier — known colloquially as the ‘flying kangaroo’ — has shed thousands of staff, cut capacity to keep ticket prices up and locked in fuel hedging contracts that let it benefit from a slump in the oil price.
“Transformation has made us a more agile business, created value for our shareholders, and given us a platform to invest for the future,” chief executive Alan Joyce said.
Pre-tax profit totalled $1.42bn (€959m) for the year to the end of June, almost double the previous year’s $789m result but still short of analysts’ forecasts of about $1.6bn.
Airlines, booking agencies, and other travel-related sectors around the world have been hammered by intense competition and uncertainty over geopolitical issues such as Britain’s vote to leave the EU and the US presidential election.
In Australia, an unusually long general election contributed to a slowdown in business and government domestic travel.
Qantas’s smaller domestic rival, Virgin Australia, said last month its full-year net loss more doubled, hurt by one-off restructuring costs.
Qantas declared a final dividend of 7c per share, its first final dividend since 2008, and said it would buy-back up to $366m worth of shares to prop up its share price. It also said it will give up to 25,000 staff an $3,000 “record result bonus”.
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