After three years and $7 billion in statutory losses due to the pandemic, the Qantas Group has returned to profit with a record result for the first half of FY23.
The Group earned $1.43 billion Underlying Profit Before Tax to 31 December 2022, which is 49 per cent higher than the prior first half record result achieved in FY18. Statutory Profit After Tax was $1.0 billion.
The drivers of this result were consistently strong travel demand, higher yields and cost improvements from the Group’s $1 billion recovery program that is nearing completion. Total operating margin was 16 per cent and came despite significantly higher fuel prices.
A $200 million investmentin operational resilience – including holding some aircraft in reserve and rostering more backup crew – delivered a significant improvement in operational performance for customers. Qantas has been the most on-time major domestic airline for five months in a row.
The strong financial position means the Group can reinvest, particularly in fleet and customer experience, as well as rewarding employees and shareholders.
Group Domestic delivered Underlying EBIT of $915 million, with flying increasing from 86 per cent of pre-COVID capacity in 2H22 to 94 per cent during the half.
Leisure demand continued to lead the recovery, which the Group is well-placed to serve through both its premium and budget brands. Corporate and SME travel demand remained strong.
Group International delivered Underlying EBIT of $511 million as capacity almost doubled from 31 per cent of pre-COVID capacity in 2H22 to 60 per cent during the half. Two routes were re-opened and seven new routes were started, which represented a major logistical effort in port readiness and training after a long period of shutdown in most countries.
Investing for customers
The Group has announced several major investment streams to improve customer experience over the short and longer term.
- A $100 million expansion of domestic and international lounges over three years (see separate announcement), in addition to three new and upgraded lounges opening during calendar 2023.
- Progressive renewal of the Qantas and Jetstar fleets.
- Ongoing improvements in catering, in-flight entertainment, customer-facing apps and staffing levels.
- Opening up new routes, including Auckland-New York, Sydney-Seoul, Melbourne-Dallas and Sydney-Rarotonga.
Qantas has today unveiled prototypes of First and Business Class suites that will be fitted to its Airbus A350 aircraft from late 2025. Offering a new level of luxury, privacy and clever use of space, these interiors have been designed with Project Sunrise in mind, which will see Qantas fly direct from the east coast of Australia to New York and London.
Average domestic and international fares remain above pre-COVID levels in Australia and in all major markets. The key drivers are:
- A 65 per cent increase in the price of fuel, which is a combination of higher oil costs, a stronger US dollar in which fuel is bought, and higher refiner margins.
- Less capacity from all airlines due to supply chain issues (including delayed delivery of new aircraft), maintenance bottlenecks as the global fleet of widebody aircraft return from storage and efforts to improve operational performance after challenging restarts.
- High levels of demand as people prioritise travel.
The factors that have constrained capacity are gradually easing and forecasts show domestic and international flying into Australia continuing to grow through the rest of the calendar year. This additional supply will put downward pressure on fares.
While average prices are about 20 per cent higher than 2021, there is still significant value available to consumers, especially when purchasing well in advance and outside of peaks.
Qantas and Jetstar today released more than one million sale fares, with discounted seats to almost every Australian city and regional town on the domestic network. (See The Everywhere Australia Sale) This is the ninth Qantas or Jetstar network-wide sale in the past six months.
Fleet update and sustainability
Qantas is at the start of the biggest fleet renewal program in its history, with up to 299 aircraft (including purchase right options) spread over 10-plus years. Twelve new aircraft are due to be delivered to Qantas and Jetstar by the end of this calendar year. The fleet plan contains substantial flexibility but, overall, the Group expects to receive an average of one new plane every three weeks for the next three years.
Supply chain and design certification issues have created manufacturing delays for all airlines, but the Group has been able to effectively limit these to less than six months with Airbus.
The Group has today announced a number of updates to its fleet plan, which are summarised below.
- Five mid-life Airbus A319/320 aircraft to be sourced for Network Aviation to meet continued demand growth from resources clients in Western Australia.
- Options for up to 12 additional E190s to be wet leased to QantasLink from Alliance Airlines.
- Nine purchase right options for A220-300 aircraft for the domestic fleet to be exercised, taking the total number of A220s on firm order to 29. These additional aircraft will arrive during FY26 and FY27.
- Two mid-life A320s for Jetstar Asia, to be based in Singapore, following the downsizing of its fleet during COVID to seven aircraft.
- Three additional Airbus A321P2F freighters to help Qantas Freight meet demand with more efficient aircraft.
These changes allow the Group to maintain required capacity despite manufacturer delays to new aircraft, and do not materially impact overall capital expenditure.
Fleet renewal is a key pillar of the Group’s progress towards its interim emissions reduction target of 25 per cent by 2030. These new aircraft burn up to 25 per cent less fuel than the models they replace.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel is another key pillar, with a target of increasing this to 10 per cent of the Group’s total fuel mix by 2030. The Group currently has agreements in place to source SAF from the UK and US and is working with federal and state government to generate supply in Australia.
A summary of the Group’s key planning assumptions is outlined below, with more detail available in our investor presentation.
- Travel demand expected to remain strong throughout FY23 and into FY24.
- Group Domestic capacity to increase to from 94 per cent to 103 per cent through 2H23.
- Group International capacity to increase from 60 per cent to 81 per cent through 2H23.
- Fares expected to moderate during 2H23 as capacity increases but will remain significantly above FY19 levels.
- Fuel cost for FY23 expected to be $4.8 billion, with hedging in place.
- Depreciation and amortisation for FY23 expected to be $1.8 billion; net financing costs expected to be $0.2 billion.
For the full media release visit the Qantas NewsroomOpens in a new tab or window.
Disclaimer: 1 Cost spread across FY23.
Disclaimer: 2 Compared with FY19; refers to ‘into plane’ cost.
Disclaimer: 3 3 x 787-9s for Qantas International; 7 x A321LRs for Jetstar; 2 x A220s for Qantas Domestic. Excludes wet-leased aircraft.
Disclaimer: 4 Compared with 2019 levels.
Disclaimer: 5 Compared with FY19 as a proxy for pre-COVID flying.
Disclaimer: 6 Compared with FY19 as a proxy for pre-COVID flying.