Qantas Airways, the largest airline in Australia by fleet size, has posted an annual loss of $2 billion – the company’s greatest loss in its 100-year history.
CEO Alan Joyce admitted that Qantas’s recovery “will take time and it will be choppy,” warning of a “significant underlying loss” to come in the next financial year.
Joyce added that he expects the airline to have resumed around 50% of its international operations by the middle of 2022. “International, we think, will take a bit of time to recover. In financial year 2022, we are only expecting to get 50% of our international operation back and we’re thinking it will take three years before we can get our A380s back in the air,” he said.
“When we do, we’ll start getting back to pre-COVID-19 levels.”
Like other multinational airlines, Qantas has greatly scaled back its global operations, in addition to announcing plans to lay off 6,000 employees in June. 4,000 of these planned layoffs are expected to be finalised by the end of August.
Australia has been particularly affected by state and national travel border closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which were a partial cause of the collapse of Virgin Australia in April.
In a sign of the continuing impact of the pandemic on the air travel industry, flight booking site Webjet reported losses of $143.5 million on Wednesday, and recently released traffic figures showed that only 317,000 passengers passed through Australia’s busiest airport, Sydney, in June – a decrease of 92% annually.