Qantas to cut jobs after profit hit
Qantas Airways plans to slash 500 jobs after posting an 83% drop in first-half profit. The Australian airline blamed rising fuel costs and a series of strikes that temporarily grounded its fleet for the loss.
Qantas said net profit for the six months to December 31 was 42 million Australian dollars (£28 million), down from 239 million dollars (£163 million) a year earlier.
A bitter labour dispute last year resulted in months of rolling worker strikes and prompted the airline to temporarily ground its entire fleet. The strikes cost the airline 194 million dollars (£132 million), Qantas said.
Chief executive Alan Joyce also said the high Australian dollar had made it difficult for the airline to do business, and said fuel costs for the six-month period were 2.2 billion dollars (£1.5 billion), up 444 million dollars (£303 million), or 26%, from the year before.
The airline said it would cut 500 jobs, withdraw some international flights and revamp its catering and engineering businesses to cope with the financial challenges. None of the positions that are being cut will be moved offshore, Mr Joyce said.
The airline also plans to cut 700 million Australian dollars (£477 million) in capital expenditure over two years.
"The highly competitive markets and tough global economy in which we operate mean that we must change," Mr Joyce said. "We need to be ready to take tough decisions, and we must become more flexible and productive."
Qantas shares rose 4.6% to 1.63 dollars in Sydney as investors welcomed the airline's plan to reduce costs.