Australian airline Qantas said Thursday it bounced back into profit in late 2022, hailing a “huge turnaround” after swallowing massive losses throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The national carrier posted a second-half profit of Aus$1.43 billion (US$974 million) before tax, after accumulating Aus$7 billion in losses across the previous three years.
Chief executive Alan Joyce said surging demand for flights had boosted the company’s fortunes while announcing a plan to buy back Aus$500 million in Qantas shares, reports BSS.
“This is a huge turnaround considering the massive losses we were facing just 12 months ago,” Joyce said in a statement.
Qantas has been criticised by Australia’s transport union for sacking or standing down thousands of staff to keep a lid on costs at the height of the outbreak.
Joyce said this restructuring, which saved Qantas almost Aus$1 billion, had been crucial to the company’s rebound.
“When we restructured the business at the start of Covid, it was to make sure we could bounce back quickly when travel returned,” he said.
“That’s effectively what’s happened, but it’s the strength of the demand that has driven such a strong result.”
The airline has angered customers post-lockdown with sky-high fares.
The Qantas result was mirrored by Air New Zealand, which on Thursday also reported a return to profit with pre-tax earnings of US$186 million.
Air New Zealand said the rebound reflected an increase in business travel and overseas tourism since the country fully re-opened its borders last July.