Top carriers refuse to bow to recession
Leading airlines continue to look beyond the recession, projecting resumed growth and ordering extra capacity to cope with it.
Last week All Nippon Airways said it saw rapid growth commencing next year (Inflight Online, January 31) and revealed that it would push for accelerated delivery of its Boeing 787s. Now Qantas has unveiled a profit for the half-year to the end of December, declaring that it is well positioned to resume growth as soon as conditions improve. And Korean Air has ordered another two Airbus A380s to bring its total requirement to ten and the overall orderbook for the big Airbus to exactly 200.
The Australian carrier today reported a pre-tax profit of A$288 million (US$185 million) on revenues of A$7.9 billion (US$5.1 billion) for the six months. It is now projecting a pre-tax profit of around A$500 million (US$320 million) for its full financial year to the end of June.
The result to the end of December represents a 68 per cent decline compared with the corresponding period in the previous financial year. “Our revenues have come under pressure from the downturn and oil and currency volatility,” said Qantas chairman Leigh Clifford. “But by calibrating our network, stimulating demand through attractive pricing, maximising the performance of our diversified businesses and restraining costs we have achieved a very good result in challenging times.”
Chief executive Alan Joyce said that Qantas’ high degree of structural flexibility was helping it to ride out the recession. “With two flying brands and a diversified portfolio of businesses, we have the scale and scope to respond rapidly to market developments and will be well positioned to resume growth as soon as conditions improve,” he declared.
He continued: “The Qantas and Jetstar brands give us the strategic flexibility to calibrate routes, products and prices to meet and stimulate customer demand. We continue to redefine premium airline standards, with investments in our fleet, product and service that include the new Centre of Service Excellence training facility, our premium economy rollout, and introduction of the Airbus A380, with three aircraft in service and four more expected by the end of the year.”
Korean Air will receive the first of its ten A380s next year. It plans to operate the aircraft in three-class layout on routes from Seoul to destinations in North America and Europe, including Los Angeles, New York and Paris.