Qantas has announced a nearly A$ 2bn (£1bn) annual loss as it struggles with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The manager of the Australian flag carrier claims operating conditions are the worst in the 100-year history of the airline. The company also says it plans to finalize about 4,000 of its 6,000 expected job losses by the end of next month. The global airline industry has been hit hard by the imposition of travel restrictions around the world.
Mr Joyce also warned that he expects the next financial year to result in a “significant underlying loss.” Qantas said much of the loss this year was due to write down the value of the assets and the payments for redundancy. With Australia’s international borders all but closed and no sign of this change, the Sydney-based carrier reiterated that it was not anticipating the earliest resumption of international flights until July 2021-with the possible exception of New Zealand flights. In June Qantas announced that as part of its plans to survive the coronavirus pandemic, 6,000 of its workers would be made redundant.
The airline said it would complete around two-thirds of those redundancies by the end of September. The losses are approximately a fifth of the overall staff of the airline before the Covid-19 crisis. In addition to job losses, another 20,000 Qantas employees are voluntarily standing down. Carriers around the world have announced billions of dollars in losses and tens of thousands of job cuts after their normal businesses nearly destroyed. It was a sobering promo email I got from Qantas this week. It links with tempting destinations in normal times but this one gave me only one deal out of Sydney-a trip to Byron Bay within New South Wales.
Every airline that fails during this pandemic is hardly surprising-but Qantas has a particular collection of problems. Like almost everywhere else in the world, the Australian government has prohibited its people and permanent residents to leave the country. You can apply for a waiver, but few grant. So that kills the business internationally. Likewise, no visitors allow in-and even Aussies are struggling to return. It is to the number of people who may be in compulsory hotel quarantine amid tight caps. The few overseas flights you spot in the empty skies have onboard. It is only a handful of passengers-and Qantas has stayed out of this market.
Where Qantas really thrived is in domestic travel. Such flights between Sydney and Melbourne were a cash cow. Yet almost every state and territory has closed its borders to everyone else, so there are slim options for travel. In the capital Canberra, now that it closes on Saturdays, the airport has so few passengers. They are coming in and out, with concerns this is only the start. Qantas is a brand love of many Australians. So there’s pent-up interest for those who still can afford to travel again as soon as possible. But it feels it’s going to be a very long time before those promo emails are once again chock-a-block.