Qantas Airways posts $2.6 billion loss for year

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

SYDNEY (AP) — Qantas Airways Ltd. on Thursday posted a record 2.8 billion Australian dollar ($2.6 billion) statutory loss for the last fiscal year reflecting a profit-draining battle with its smaller rival Virgin Australia and aircraft write downs.

Australia's flagship airline's result for year to June 30, 2014, compared to a AU$1 million profit a year earlier. The loss is the largest the former state-owned airline has ever posted in its 94-year history.

The result included a AU$2.6 billion write down to the value of its aging international fleet of Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s, reflecting a weakened Australian dollar.

Excluding the write down and other one-off costs, Qantas made an underlying pre-tax loss of AU$646 million, compared to a AU$186 million profit a year earlier.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce described the result as "confronting," but said the massive loss represented the year that was past.

"We have now come through the worst," he said in a statement.

"With our accelerated Qantas transformation program, we are already emerging as a leaner, more focused and more sustainable Qantas group," he added.

Joyce said the underlying loss for the latest year reflected higher fuel costs and capacity growth on services outstripping demand.

Joyce forecast a profit in the first half of the current fiscal year.

Qantas has decided to separate its domestic and troubled international arms and created a new corporate entity for Qantas International, a change made possible by recent Australian law change.