Australia's flag carrier Qantas reported a record $1.6 profit Thursday on a boom in air travel following COVID-19. File Photo by Brent Winstone/EPA-EFE
Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Australia's Qantas Airways said Thursday profits rebounded to $1.6 billion for the financial year ended June 30 after racking up $4.5 billion of losses in the previous three years as air travel continued to recover from the empty skies of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The results were the fruit of Qantas' strong standing in the industry from its "on-time performance" and low flight cancellation rates, CEO Alan Joyce said in a news release which also announced a $322 million share buyback and orders for 24 new wide-body aircraft.
Qantas said the group's profits were supported by a $644 million recovery plan together with a 132% increase in flying from 2021-22 and a more than doubling of revenue to $12.8 billion, up from $5.9 billion, from strong demand for travel.
"These results show a substantial turnaround in both our finances and service over the past year. Flight delays and cancellations have largely returned to pre-COVID levels and we've shifted from heavy losses to a strong profit and pipeline of investment worth billions of dollars," Joyce said.
"We safely flew almost 70 billion more seat kilometers and doubled the number of people we carried to 46 million compared to the year before. Travel demand is incredibly robust and we've taken delivery of more aircraft and opened up new routes to help meet it."
Qantas Group's other divisions -- regional carrier QantasLink, budget carrier Jetstar and Qantas Freight -- made strong contributions to the results with flights within Australia contributing more than half of the group's $1.6 billion underlying profit
Qantas' more than 15 million frequent flyers helped its loyalty program to a $298 million profit on revenue of $1.4 billion.
Joyce said data showed customer satisfaction had improved significantly.
In an effort to keep on side customers who may balk at how much Qantas is raking in, the airline put 1 million seats to 90 destinations on sale Thursday to coincide with its results announcement.
The orders for 12 Airbus 350 aircraft and 12 Boeing 787 "Dreamliners" were in line with Qantas' commitments to 170 aircraft orders to replace older aircraft in its 336-strong domestic and international fleets.