Qantas Posts Worst Annual Loss Of £1.6bn
Qantas has posted a record annual loss of A$2.84 (£1.6bn) but says clearer skies lie ahead thanks to a change in Australian law.
The Australian flag carrier's dive into the red was the result of a huge writedown on the value of its ageing international fleet - blamed on currency movements.
Aggressive cost-cutting measures, which landed the airline with big redundancy bills, also hit the bottom line.
They were a result of a recovery plan announced in February which led to 5,000 job losses, routes being cut and new aircraft deliveries being deferred.
But the airline, which has also been battling record fuel costs and fierce competition from subsidised rivals, said it believed the worst was now behind it and it expected to return to profit in its current financial year.
It cited a cure to its biggest headache, with Australian law soon allowing an opening of the door to greater foreign investment in its international arm - a division which is to be split from its domestic business.
Qantas, whose main domestic rival Virgin Australia is majority-owned by state-backed Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand and Etihad, regularly complained that the 1992 Qantas Sales Act restricted its access to capital.
The airline said the amendment to ownership legislation would allow it to expand its interests and invest in new planes, partly through its partnership with Emirates.
The positive outlook gave the airline's shares their largest one-day percentage gain in a year.
Chief executive Alan Joyce said: "There is no doubt today's numbers are confronting, but they represent the year that is past.
"We have now come through the worst. With our accelerated Qantas Transformation programme we are already emerging as a leaner, more focused and more sustainable Qantas Group.
"There is a clear and significant easing of both international and domestic capacity growth, which will stabilise the revenue environment."