Qantas posts plunge in first-half profit, announces new $262 million buyback

By Thomson Reuters Feb 21, 2024 | 3:43 PM

(Reuters) -Australia’s flag carrier Qantas Airways Ltd on Thursday posted a 12.8% fall in first-half profit and announced an additional on-market buyback of up to A$400 million.

The drop in first-half earnings was due to fares and capacity normalising, the company said.

The airline posted an underlying profit before tax of A$1.25 billion ($785.88 million) for the six months ended Dec. 31, compared with A$1.43 billion a year earlier.

That missed a consensus estimate of A$1.26 billion, according to Jefferies.

Lower fares contributed to a fall in Qantas’ revenue per available seat kilometre, which had around a A$600 million impact on the company’s bottom-line, it said.

The century-old airline, which is currently embroiled in a series of scandals including strike threats by pilots at its unit, predicted its net debt to be at or below the middle of the target range by end of fiscal 2024, while reporting net debt of A$4.0 billion during the first half.

($1 = 1.5270 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Echha Jain and Roshan Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)