Qantas has signalled it is on track to meet its forecast FY23 profit of more than $2.4 billion as its capacity nears pre-pandemic levels.
The Flying Kangaroo says its domestic capacity has reached pre-pandemic levels, while international capacity is “climbing towards” that mark, as the group predicts more than four million passengers on Qantas and Jetstar services over the winter holidays.
“Top domestic leisure destinations include the Gold Coast and Cairns, while new international routes including Sydney-Auckland-New York and Perth-Rome are heavily booked,” the airline said.
“Travel demand remains strong and data shows that consumers continue to prioritise travel over other spending categories.”
The national carrier says it has taken delivery of six new aircraft since the start of the calendar year, including Airbus A320neo planes for Jetstar and Boeing 787 Dreamliners for Qantas, as part of its major “Project Winton” fleet renewal program.
In its guidance last month, Qantas said fuel prices, fares, and operational buffer costs are all moderating, with jet fuel prices “remaining elevated” but falling. Fares are declining from peaks seen in the first half of the financial year owing to the return of capacity, but yields are “expected to remain materially above pre-COVID levels” through the 2023–24 financial year, especially internationally.
“More parts of the aviation supply chain are returning to normal, which means we’re able to put some of the spare aircraft and crew we kept in reserve back in the schedule. That’s combining with lower fuel prices to help put downward pressure on fares, which is good news for customers,” said CEO Alan Joyce.
The airline was pilloried by unions for the forecast, with TWU national secretary Michael Kaine saying it was the result of the airline “bleeding dry workers, passengers and the taxpaying public”.
“A $2.5 billion profit for the first full financial year since airfares skyrocketed, complaints against Qantas rose 70 per cent, the Federal Court found for a second time that the airline was responsible for the largest case of illegal sackings in Australian history, and a recently announced wet-leasing arrangement, essentially outsourcing and offshoring more essential jobs, just shows how out of whack aviation has become,” said Kaine.