Qantas pays dividends, the first in seven years
AUSTRALIAN carrier Qantas yesterday posted record annual profits and announced its first payout to shareholders in seven years, staging a recovery after axing jobs and selling aircraft.
The results were also boosted by the sharp fall in global oil prices and a less competitive domestic market.
In contrast, other international airlines such as Cathay Pacific, ANA and Japan Airlines have seen profits plunge amid competition from lower-cost rivals and as terrorism fears eat into demand.
Qantas reported a net annual profit of A$1.42 billion (S$1.47 billion) in the year to June 30, an 80 per cent increase from the previous corresponding period.
The company resumed paying dividends, the first payout since 2009.
It would also give a one-off A$3,000 bonus to some 25,000 staff who had signed up to a pay freeze.
"These are fantastic results that we've had in the last year, as I said, record results for the group," chief executive Alan Joyce told reporters in Sydney.
"We do see the strong performance of the company continuing. This business has taken a lot of cost out and improved revenue dramatically.
"The transformation programme has changed the business completely, delivering over A$1.66 billion in performance improvements."
The aggressive push to cut some A$2 billion in costs and restructure the airline over three years kicked off in early 2014, with thousands of jobs slashed and dozens of planes sold or orders deferred.
"One of the reasons why Qantas is looking quite compelling and is producing very good results of late is the fact that the domestic market here has now basically shrunk to mostly a duopoly between them and Virgin," IG Markets' analyst Angus Nicholson said.
The airline's discount carrier Jetstar likewise reached record profits, with a 97 per cent leap in underlying earnings to A$452 million.