/ 23 February 2024

A long runway to redemption…

Image source: AFP
Image source: AFP

The Squiz

Qantas shared its much-anticipated half-year results yesterday, revealing it made an $873 million post-tax profit in the July-December half. That sounds like a tidy amount, but the airline was quick to point out it’s a 13.2% fall on the $1 billion profit recorded in the same period 12 months ago. Qantas says the reason for that is threefold – flight prices have dropped 10% from their peak in late 2022, fuel costs have risen, and the airline has increased spending to improve customer/staff satisfaction. Newbie CEO Vanessa Hudson says it reflects months of responding to “loud and clear” feedback – but investors had input of their own… The company’s share price dropped 6.8% yesterday. 

So it’s up, up, and away?

Hold your horses… Despite the upbeat tone yesterday, Qantas still has some challenges to confront. The big one is the airline is back in the Federal Court next month to work out the compensation it will pay 1,700 ground staff who were let go during the pandemic. You might remember the High Court ruled in September that the airline breached the Fair Work Act when it illegally fired the (mostly) baggage handlers and cleaners and outsourced the work to contractors. Reports say that bill could run into the hundreds of millions… The airline is also dealing with legal action brought by the ACCC over allegations it sold tickets on cancelled flights in 2022. Qantas denies that, but if found guilty, that could also cost hundreds of millions

Anything else? 

Yep – the airlines say they are investing in better service, but flight delays and cancellations are still rife. The latest official data shows that in January, 73.4% of domestic flights landed on time – that’s at odds with the long-term average of 81% but better than the 63.6% recorded in December. Cancellations were also higher than the long-term average, with 3.1% of flights never taking off. On Wednesday, Federal Transport Minister Catherine King proposed penalties for airlines who cancel flights at Sydney Airport without valid reasons, and they could lose their coveted take-off and landing slots. But if on-time travel is your thing, you might consider diverting to Port Lincoln Airport in regional SA – it’s maintained the highest number of on-time arrivals and departures in all of Oz… 

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