Qantas Airways and Air New Zealand both reported losses for the half-year ended 31 December, but said COVID-19 vaccines would help restart international travel. Qantas said it believe international air travel would pick up by October and expects domestic capacity to increase to 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels by the fourth quarter of 2021.
Qantas swung to an underlying loss, its most closely watched financial measure, of A$1.03 billion (US$816.7 million) for the six months ending 31 December, the airline’s fiscal first half, compared with an underlying profit of A$771 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenue for the six months fell 75 percent to A$6.9 billion as international travel collapsed and domestic flying was restricted to 30 percent of capacity. On a statutory basis, Qantas reported a net loss of A$1.08 billion for the six-month period, compared with a net profit of A$445 million a year earlier.
Air New Zealand said it posted a net loss of NZ$72 million (US$53.5 million), compared with a NZ$101 million net profit a year earlier. Total revenue for the six months fell 59 percent to NZ$1.2 billion, largely due to the impact of border restrictions on international travel. Air New Zealand, which in August reported its first annual loss in 18 years for the 12 months ending 30 June 2020, said it has cash and undrawn facilities of more than NZ$700 million, thanks to a loan from the New Zealand government, its majority shareholder. It also previously announced a potential capital raising before the end of June.
The airline said it had burned through more than NZ$1 billion in cash reserves since the start of the pandemic, but it expects the spending rate to slow down in the second half of the current fiscal year ending 30 June. It already has laid off a third of its 12,000 staff, grounded aircraft and subleased office space.