| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

Qantas accelerates cost cuts as $1.5bn loss looms

Australian carrier Qantas has announced new cost-cutting measures to contain the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The carrier would report an annual loss before tax of more than $1.5 billion. But it added that its debt pile had peaked and was likely to fall as domestic travel was on track to hit pre-pandemic levels.

Qantas said its international division was losing about $2.3 million a week, down from $3.9 million last month.

Its latest cost-cutting plans include a two-year wage freeze, slashing travel agents’ commissions for international flights and offering voluntary redundancies to cabin crew in its international business.

Separately on Wednesday, the parent company of rival Singapore Airlines revealed a record annual loss of S$4.27 billion ($3.2bn) – worse than the average S$3.27 billion forecast predicted by eight analysts, said a Reuters report.

In a statement on Tuesday, Qantas said it sees more positive times ahead as a rebound in domestic travel to near-normal levels would help it to continue to cut its debts.

“The fact we’re making inroads to the debt we needed to get through this crisis shows the business is now on a more sustainable footing,” Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said in a statement.

“The main driver is the rebound of domestic travel, which now looks like it will be bigger than it was pre-COVID, at least until international borders re-open.”

The airline has pushed back the sale of international tickets, with the exception of New Zealand, to December after the Australian government said it was unlikely to open its borders to widespread travel until the middle of next year.