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Qantas announces a drop in profits and new board chair

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Qantas announces a drop in profits and new board chair
Australia’s national carrier has announced a 13 per cent drop in profits compared to the same period last financial year.

Qantas announced after-tax half-year profits of $869 million, down from the $1 billion profit announced in February 2023.

The airline said lower airfares saw profits take a $600 million hit.

Over the first half of the current financial year, Qantas increased domestic flights by five per cent and international flights by 39 per cent. However the airline is not expecting international Qantas flights to reach pre-COVID capacity this financial year – it’ll top out at about 86 per cent.

Alongside its results, Qantas today announced several additional new aircraft had been ordered and an acceleration in making free Wifi available on international flights. Wifi should begin rolling out on international Qantas flights from the end of this calendar year. The airline is also set to make several digital changes, including to its app and website.

“There’s a lot of work happening to lift our service levels and the early signs are really positive,” said Qantas Group CEO, Vanessa Hudson.

“Our customer satisfaction scores have bounced back strongly since December and we have more service and product improvements in the pipeline.

“We understand the need for affordable air travel and fares have fallen more than 10 per cent since peaking in late 2022.

“At the same time, we’ve seen a cost benefit from fewer cancellations and delays, and scale benefits as more international flying returns.”

Yesterday the airline also announced that John Mullen will take over as chair of the Qantas board after the annual general meeting in October.

Despite calls from multiple stakeholders for the current chair, Richard Goyder, to resign in the second half of 2023, he will stay on until his planned retirement at this year’s AGM.

Calls for Goyder to step down came after Qantas faced a variety of reputational and legal issues last year, including losing a final industrial relations appeal, facing a class action from customers over COVID travel credits and being taken to court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for practices including continuing to sell flights it had already cancelled.

Mullen will join the Qantas board in July and take over from Goyder in October. He has headed up various major freight companies and was previously chair of Telstra’s board.

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