Losses at Qantas as routes and jobs go

RISING fuel prices and a string of natural disasters that resulted in $140m (£87.2m) in losses have forced Australia’s Qantas Airways to cut back on capacity and management.

The airline’s statement came after Brent crude futures for May delivery rose 36 cents to settle at $115.16 yesterday as expectations for a quick restoration of Libyan oil to the market were cut back.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said he was aiming to cut management headcount as well as reduce capacity on several popular routes.

The airline plans to cut domestic capacity growth in the second half of the current financial year to eight per cent from 14 per cent and international capacity growth to seven per cent from 10 per cent.

The airline did not give full-year earnings guidance, but said the potential impact on earnings in the second-half included A$45m from the Japan earthquake and tsunami, A$60m from flooding in Australia’s Queensland state, A$20m from Queensland cyclones and A$15m from the recent New Zealand earthquake.