SHARES in Qantas took off yesterday, at one point reaching AU$3 for the first time since 2008, as results for the six months to 31 December showed a return to profit.
The company’s underlying profit before tax was AU$367m (£186m), beating market expectations of AU$350m. The airline also posted revenue of AU$8.1bn, up from AU$7.9bn in the previous year.
The Australian carrier is in the first year of a three-year restructuring project, which has already led to the culling of 5,000 jobs.
Qantas posted “transformation benefits” of AU$159m in its international business, and AU$127m in its domestic operation. The firm also said AU$91m worth of savings were made through improved fuel efficiency measures as well as the general benefits from Australian dollar fuel prices.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the “decisive factor” in the company’s “best half-year result for four years” was a complete focus on the transformation plan.
“It’s clear that without the impact of transformation, we would not be announcing a profit today,” he stated.
“Our people have worked hard and made a huge contribution to bring about the change we need.
“They deserve great credit for this result.”
The firm’s shares closed up by 1.42 per cent yesterday.