Qantas reveals new overseas flight date
In what has been a horror year for the aviation industry, Qantas have revealed the full scale of losses amid the COVID-19 global pandemic.
In a trading update posted on Thursday, which covered four months during the pandemic, the nation's largest airline revealed an almost $2 billion loss for the 12 months ending June 30.
The airline said the results reflected a strong first half of the year, followed by a "total collapse in travel and demand".
Unprecedented travel restrictions and border closures had caused a $4 billion revenue plunge due to the loss of ticket sales since the end of March, when the Federal Government put an international travel ban in place.
"The impact of COVID on all airlines is clear. It's devastating and it will be a question of survival for many," Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement.
"We've had to make some very tough decisions in the past few months to guarantee our future. At least 6000 of our people will leave the business through no fault of their own, and thousands more will be stood down for a long time.
"Recovery will take time and it will be choppy."
Mr Joyce predicts the airline will be resuming international air travel in July 2021, with a trans-Tasman bubble earlier if possible.
"We've already had setbacks with borders opening and then closing again," he said.
"Most airlines will come through this crisis a lot leaner, which means we have to reinvent how we run parts of our business to succeed in a changed market."
Mr Joyce said the recent border closures within Australia had caused "upheaval and uncertainty" for customers, and for the airline to recover in the domestic market.
"We've been hit by another set of border closures. It shows how important it is to have a national framework for domestic borders - so that there is clarity and consistency," he said.
"Despite the recent setbacks, we know conditions will ultimately improve."
The financial update comes after a tough year for the airline after it announced in June it would slash 6000 jobs from its 29,000 workforce.
In addition to the job cuts, the national carrier will to stand down 15,000 workers for at least the rest of the year - part of a three-year recovery plan to speed its recovery from the pandemic.
But Mr Joyce said that simply "getting smaller" would not lead to success in a post-COVID world.
"We'll have to operate differently in response, and that will mean more hard decisions," he told media on Thursday.
"There will be some reinvention required to succeed in a different world."
The Qantas recovery plan, announced in June, hopes to save the airline $15 billion through job decreases, ongoing employee stand downs and fuel savings through a lack of aircraft movement.
"We know FY21 will be another tough year," he said.
"Coming out of this crisis, we'll be the only Australian airline that can fly long haul. We want to expand on that when our balance sheet allows, picking up where we left off with Project Sunrise … including our flights from the eastern states directly to Europe and directly to the east coast of the US."
The airline made a $56 million profit for the year for international travel, driven by a record performance by Qantas Freight.
Originally published as Qantas reveals new overseas flight date