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Global travel will not resume until mid-2021, Qantas says

Routes would be reopened country by country depending on virus spread.

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Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce (Dean Lewins/AAP Image/AP)

Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce (Dean Lewins/AAP Image/AP)

Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce (Dean Lewins/AAP Image/AP)

Coronavirus has cost Australian carrier Qantas 4 billion dollars (£2.1 billion) in revenue with the airline warning international travel will not resume until mid-2021.

The company reported an underlying profit before tax of 124 million Australian dollars (£68 million) for the fiscal year that ended on June, a 90.6% decline from profit posted a year before.

The carrier’s statutory net loss for the latest year was 1.96 billion dollars (£1.07 billion).

The US, with the level of prevalence there, is probably going to take some time. It's probably going to need a vaccine before we could see that happening.Alan Joyce

Chief executive Alan Joyce said international routes would not reopen until the middle of next year and US services might depend on a Covid-19 vaccine becoming widely available.

Routes would be reopened country by country depending on virus spread, he added.

He said: “New Zealand is an obvious example that should potentially open up relatively fast compared to the other countries around the world.

“The US, with the level of prevalence there, is probably going to take some time. It’s probably going to need a vaccine before we could see that happening.

“We potentially could see a vaccine by the middle or the end of next year and countries like the US may be the first country to have widespread use of that vaccine, so that could mean that the US is seen as a market by the end of ‘21,” he added.

The first six months of 2019 had been the toughest conditions in Qantas’s 100-year history, Mr Joyce said.

The airline recorded a 771 million dollar (£420 million) pre-tax profit in the first half of the fiscal year before the pandemic struck.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

Mr Joyce said Qantas was in a better financial position than many airlines to survive the pandemic.

“We have the lowest cash burn, we believe, of any major airline group in the world,” Mr Joyce said.

“Forty million (£22 million) a week is still a big number, but that is a lot lower than other airlines in North America and Europe and that gives us the longest runway of any airline group out there, well through to ’21 and into ’22 and we may need that,” he added.

PA