Qantas announces annual profit, orders new Dreamliners

Canberra, Aug 20 (IANS) Australia’s national airline Qantas on Thursday unveiled a pre-tax profit of more than $718 million for 2014-15, a dramatic $1.18 billion turnaround from the previous year’s disastrous result.

Speaking at a media conference, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the net profit of $410 million was “one of the biggest turnarounds in Australian corporate history” when detailing the airline’s “strongest balance sheet” since the global financial crisis, Xinhua reported.

Qantas also has 20 Dreamliners on loose order with purchase options for 15 more in the future.

The airline’s cost cutting program saved $657 million over the past year and allowed it to whittle away almost a billion dollars in debt, Joyce said.

“Qantas is outperforming the market and the rest of the airline groups because of its transformation, and it’s only because of the transformation that we have these strong results,” he told the media.

The airline suffered from high fuel prices and aging jets at the turn of the decade, eventually announcing the contingency plan in 2013 – which expected to cut more $2 billion in costs by 2017.

From 2013, Qantas cut 5,000 jobs and retired its aging fleet of fuel-guzzling Boeing 767 and Boeing 747 jets, before lower fuel prices helped the airline jump out of the red.

The airline also announced it would be giving back $372 million to long-suffering shareholders who haven’ t been paid dividends since 2009.

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