Qantas predicts growth in profits as travel revives

AUSTRALIA’S Qantas Airways signalled a return to growth after the worst downturn in aviation history, as recovering corporate travel and higher ticket prices offset soaring fuel prices and the cost of grounding its fleet of A380 aircraft.

Qantas shares posted their biggest one-day gain in almost two years, rising 5.4 per cent as investors shrugged off their disappointment that the airline did not reinstate dividend payments to focus on upbeat comments on cost savings and yields.

The airline, Australia’s largest, posted a four-fold increase in first-half net profit to A$241m (£150.2m) compared with A$58m a year earlier.

Qantas said it expected “materially higher” profits in 2011 despite an A$80m impact from the decision to ground its A380 fleet last year following a mid-air Rolls-Royce engine explosion. However, it did not give specific guidance.