Qantas has recorded a first half “statutory” profit before tax (PBT) for the half year ended December 31 2009 of $90 million, down from the $288 million first half profit result it posted for the first half of the previous financial year, on revenue of $6.9 billion.
“The current half year experienced the full impact of the economic downturn in the first quarter, with signs of recovery becoming evident by the end of the second quarter,” the airline said in a February 18 statement detailing the results. “By comparison the comparative first half year reflected buoyant economic conditions offset by extremely high fuel prices.”
The airline said key factors behind the profit result included: weaker domestic and international demand and lower fuel surcharges leading to a 14.9 per cent fall in yield and a 13 per cent or $832 million fall in group net passenger revenue; lower capacity and a 2.7 point increase in seat load factors; net fuel savings of $468 million due to lower fuel costs; and an 11 per cent fall in non fuel operating expenses (with manpower costs down by 11 per cent and aircraft operating costs down 10 per cent, mainly due to reduced maintenance costs).
According to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, “the tough decisions made last year, particularly in terms of capacity management and cost initiatives, have yielded results.”
Qantas said its “underlying” PBT – which excludes gains and losses on derivatives not relating to the half, and non-recurring aircraft impairments – was $267 million, with the company saying its future internal and external reporting will include a greater emphasis on underlying PBT, “as it reflects the operational performance of the business that can be more accurately forecast,” Joyce said.
By segment, Qantas recorded an underlying EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) of $60 million (down from $98 million), with capacity (in ASKs) down by 9.6 per cent, revenue down by $1.04 billion, and ‘Q Future’ savings program savings of $202 million. Jetstar’s underlying EBIT was $121 million, up 181 per cent or $78 million on the previous year, with Jetstar’s ‘controllable’ (excluding fuel and currency) cost per ASK down by 6.1 per cent. Jetstar yields fell 10.9 per cent, but revenues increased 18.1 per cent to $1.13bn, on the back of a 33 per cent rise in operating capacity. Qantas Frequent Flyer contributed an underlying EBIT of $157 million, Qantas Freight $17 million.