The Qantas Group has posted its first full year statutory profit since FY19 and will share the benefits by rewarding employees, reinvesting for customers and returning capital to shareholders.
For FY23, the Group achieved an Underlying Profit Before Tax of $2.47 billion and a Statutory After Tax Profit of $1.74 billion. This compares with $7 billion in accumulated statutory losses over three prior years.
Underpinning the profit was completion of the Group’s $1 billion recovery program (launched in the first year of those losses), a 132 per cent increase in flying compared with FY22 and strong travel demand driving significantly higher revenue.
Operational performance improved considerably during the year after a challenging ramp up, with Qantas achieving the best on-time performance of the major domestic airlines for 11 months out of 12 and Jetstar returning to pre-COVID levels. Customer satisfaction, while not back to pre-COVID levels, has also improved in line with operational performance.
Normalising of international capacity and the unwinding of inefficiencies from the return to flying will help put downward pressure on fares and strengthen financial performance.
This strength enables the Group to keep investing heavily in customer experience, including firm orders for a further 24 Boeing and Airbus widebody aircraft from FY27 onwards to replace Qantas’ A330 fleet, plus purchase right options for future renewal and growth.
A major fare sale and over 1 billion in loyalty bonus points to say ‘thank you’ to customers have also been announcedOpens external site. (See separate release.)
Group Domestic performance
Group Domestic, consisting of Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar, increased flying to 103 per cent of pre-COVID levels by the end of the second half of FY23. This was supported by strong travel demand from leisure and business travel, helping to deliver Underlying EBIT of $1.5 billion.
The combination of Qantas’ network, frequency, lounges, loyalty program and inclusions like inflight Wi-Fi helped it retain its share of corporate and small business travel, while Jetstar continued to offer millions of low fares to popular leisure destinations. Demand from the resources sector also drove significant revenue.
Group International and Freight performance
The return to service of seven refurbished Airbus A380s during the year, plus delivery of two new Boeing 787s and eight new A321LRs, helped Group International (Qantas and Jetstar) increase flying from 54 per cent of pre-COVID levels to 81 per cent over the period.
This activity combined with strong demand, particularly in premium cabins, helped drive Underlying EBIT of $1.1 billion. Passenger loads averaged above 85 per cent for both Qantas and Jetstar.
Qantas Freight made a significant contribution even as market yields continued to normalise, delivering an additional ~$150 million in structural earnings growth that is expected to be maintained through a permanent increase in e-commerce and efficiencies from fleet renewal.
Qantas Loyalty performance
Qantas Loyalty achieved significant growth across several parts of its portfolio, driving record Underlying EBIT of $451 million.
Frequent Flyer membership increased by around 1 million to 15.2 million and there was 19 per cent growth in the Qantas Business Rewards program, which now counts one-in-five of all Australian small-to-medium enterprises as points-earning members.
The number of Qantas Points redeemed by members increased to 126 per cent of pre-COVID levels, helped by the release of thousands more redemption seats across Qantas and its partner airlines, as well as growth in hotels and holiday offerings.
A record number of points were earned across financial products as credit card acquisitions and spending continued to grow. Compared with FY22, Qantas Health Insurance policies grew by 41 per cent and Travel Insurance policies by more than 60 per cent.
Financial framework and shareholder returns
As at 30 June 2023, the Group had liquidity sources of around $10 billion, including $4.4 billion in cash and undrawn facilities and $5.6 billion in unencumbered assets.
Net debt fell to $2.89 billion – well below the $3.7 billion to $4.6 billion target range and the FY19 level of $4.7 billion. This exceptional balance sheet strength, combined with cashflows from what is a structurally enhanced business, is expected to underpin future aircraft deliveries and shareholder returns.
The Board today approved a return to shareholders of up to $500 million via an on-market share buy-back, which will commence in September 2023. This follows a return of $1.0 billion during FY23 via share buy-backs at an average price of $6.19.
Fleet and Sustainablility
The Group has today announced a firm order for 24 widebody aircraft, consisting of 12 Boeing 787s and 12 Airbus A350s. With deliveries starting in FY27 and continuing into the next decade, these aircraft will replace the bulk of the current A330 fleet, with purchase right options stretching out until at least FY37 to provide flexibility for future growth and, ultimately, replacement of the A380 fleet.
This order secures delivery slots for sought-after widebody aircraft with pricing that represents an excellent opportunity for the Group. It is in addition to the order for 12 specially modified A350s to operate Project Sunrise flights, arriving in FY26.
The Group’s fleet plan has significant flexibility built in, allowing for adjustments depending on market conditions and its financial framework.
As part of this new order, Qantas will partner with Airbus and Boeing to access to up to 500 million litres of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) per annum from 2028, including from the United States. This represents up to 90 per cent of the SAF required to reach the Group’s 2030 interim target of 10 per cent of its total fuel needs and enhances the Group’s pathway to reducing emissions. (See separate release for more information.)
Fares peaked in the second quarter of FY23 after increasing due to strong demand and industry-wide supply chain constraints.
Additional capacity, moderating fuel costs and a stronger Australian dollar applied downward pressure in the second half, with fares falling by around 12 per cent. In inflation adjusted terms, domestic fares are now 4 per cent higher than pre-COVID levels and international fares are 10 per cent higher.
The Group has entered FY24 with a very strong balance sheet, $1 billion in reoccurring cost benefits from its recovery program, and strong trading conditions as consumers continue to prioritise travel.
Total fuel bill for the first half of FY24 is expected to be $2.6 billion.
Group Domestic capacity is expected to remain above pre-COVID levels throughout FY24.
- Group International capacity will continue to recover, on track to return to 100 per cent of pre-COVID levels in 2H24.
- Qantas Loyalty is on track to deliver on its FY24 EBIT target of $500 – 600 million, six months earlier than anticipated, with an Underlying EBIT of more than $500 million expected for calendar year 2023.
- Approximately $400 million in transitionary costs incurred in FY23 will unwind in FY24.
- Continued transformation of more than $300 million in FY24 is expected to offset CPI.
- Net Debt is expected to increase in FY24 but will remain below the bottom of the target range, with that range expected to increase as invested capital rebuilds.
Disclaimer:  Before tax.
Disclaimer:  Compared to pre-COVID.
Disclaimer:  As at 30 June 2023.
Disclaimer:  Based on meeting certain criteria under Airbus and Boeing deals, including partnership with the manufacturers on SAF projects. The agreement includes ~80 million litres of SAF per annum from existing projects. The remaining volume will be sourced through investment in new projects.
Disclaimer:  See Investor Presentation for more detail.