Qantas Airways said on Thursday the pandemic cost it A $ 4 billion ($ 2.9 billion) in revenue in the past fiscal year and warned international travel would not resume until mid-2021.
The Australian airline reported underlying pre-tax profit of A $ 124 million ($ 89 million) for the year ended June, down 90.6% from profit at AU $ 1.33 billion recorded a year ago.
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The carrier’s statutory net loss for the past year was A $ 1.96 billion ($ 141 billion).
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said international routes would not reopen until the middle of next year and that U.S. services may depend on a widely available COVID-19 vaccine.
Routes would be reopened country by country, depending on the spread of the virus.
“New Zealand is an obvious example that should potentially open up relatively quickly compared to other countries in the world,” Joyce said.
“The United States, with the level of prevalence there, is probably going to take a while. It will probably take a vaccine before we can see this happen, ”he said.
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“We could potentially see a vaccine by the middle or end of next year and countries like the United States could be the first country to have widely used this vaccine, which could mean the United States is considered a market by the end of “21”, he added.
The first six months of 2019 have been the toughest conditions in Qantas’ 100-year history, Joyce said.
The airline posted a pre-tax profit of A $ 771 million ($ 554 million) in the first half of the year before the outbreak of the pandemic.
Joyce said Qantas is in a better financial position than many airlines to survive the pandemic.
“We have the lowest cash consumption, in our opinion, of any major airline in the world,” Joyce said.
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“A $ 40 million ($ 29 million) per week is still a high number, but it’s a lot less than other airlines in North America and Europe and it gives us the most long of all the air groups, until 21 and 22 and we may need it, ”he added.